The plucky planter on the back of our bathroom commode still makes me feel appreciated. It arrived at our house one morning in early June. I found it sitting on our front deck with a note from Gail thanking me for taking her son to play practices. Though several families had carpooled, maybe I had done a little more driving, but since I was taking Kathie anyway, picking up Phil wasn’t out of our way. It was no big deal.
What a surprise when I found the planter. Its resin composite was molded and painted to be a careworn blue denim jacket. Straw-like pieces stuck out from holes and tears in the jacket and two small turtles crawled about the surface. (How had she known I like turtles?) I could never have imagined anything like it. It truly defines the word “funky”. Gail had planted a single variegated zinnia in it.
I brought it in the house that first morning looking for a place to put it. The shamrock plant, on our commode since St. Patrick’s Day, was ready to go. Ironically, I do pretty well with other plants, but, contrary to their image, I never have much luck growing shamrocks.
I have a selection of hand towels I’ve collected for covering the lid of our toilet tank. I change them to go with the seasons and holidays. I went through the stack of towels and found one with a Southwestern print that set off the new planter perfectly. Its vibrant flower made me notice how dingy the rest of the bathroom was.
A film of mildew was starting to build on the ceiling and in the corners of the room. (We don’t have an exhaust fan.) The steam builds, the dust sticks, and I usually ignore it. The new planter brought out the dirt.
That did it. I cleared off all surfaces, filled a pail with Clorox water, grabbed the step stool, and reached high with my elbow grease. My short arms make working on a ceiling a true pain in the neck, but that planter…. It was bright; it was new; it made me want to clean. (Now, that’s rare!)
When I finished, the room was cleaner than it had been for months. As the finishing touch, I threw the Southwestern print towel over the tank and returned the planter with the zinnia in its new place.
It continues to radiate energy in the room. Little did Gail know that her gift would give me such a boost. If I thank her for her thank-you gift, it could start a turn-about that won’t quit so I’ll let things rest. I’ll send her a copy of this column to let her know how much her thoughtfulness still shines for me in my bathroom, every day.
Please take a minute to submit a recipe (or a few) for the next cookbook: “More from Back o’ the Box”. I’d like our readership (and all the towns and cities you’re from) to be well represented. Your contribution will be much appreciated.