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The Spin

July 10th, 2007


It’s a lovely Sunday morning. My activity of choice is to putter in the back yard sipping tea, half listening to Lisa’s big plan for expanding the flower bed. My suggestions however are clipped by what my wife has garnered from her garden guru, my award–winning rosebush-nurturing mother, Edith, who knows plenty about the art of coaxing beautiful vegetation out of the ground.

My attention eventually drifts from pansies and petunias to the handsome night blue Audi A6 sedan backed into our driveway. Its athletic stance and drawn rear window shades render it a road trip waiting to happen There isn’t time for that but a close cousin to the road trip, an afternoon spin, seemed a viable option.

Sunday afternoon has always been prime time for a ‘spin’, one of those mini road trips with not much more mission than a motorized look around. In my books a ‘spin’ requires very little planning, a clean set of wheels, onboard fellowship and an upbeat attitude. You don’t go for a spin when the sheriff is about to repossess the living room furniture, the kid has just flunked a math exam or the dog has bolted to places unknown.

Of course I’d have to fill the Audi with people. My daughters came to mind but it was unlikely they’d adjust their Sunday afternoon plans for a spin to the seashore with good old dad, who would obviously take the opportunity to spin a few well worn road stories.

I grab the telephone and pitch the idea of a spin to plant nurseries on my quite receptive mother. With Edith on board, Lisa was putty, and the fact that we would pick up my sister Susan in Chester en route plant world sealed the deal. After all, what Mum didn’t know about flower beds, Susan did. So Lisa would be well looked after and I’d get a few hours to put the A6 through its paces along the way.

Of course I’d run the risk of getting ganged up on by my three favorite women, but the gamble was worth the rewardâ¦. 350 horses of Quattro power to dabble with.

On the way to Chester I deflect flower chat with stories of the past when a ‘spin’ was a family affair, an ideal breeding ground for kindred fellowship. Spins usually involved a treat too. Dad would pull that cream ‘58 Buick Special up to the store and come out with five bags of Scotties potato chips and a five-cent El Producto cigar.

Those one- or two-hour affairs were like circus rides, an adventure. We didn’t wear seatbelts because cars didn’t have them, and we hovered over the back of the front seat hoping Dad would shove the Buick into passing gear and rattle the windows and nerves of the slow poke in front of us. The time he lit the wrapper and threw the cigar out the car window became family lore and a show-and-tell story at school the next day.

The escape from garden gab is just fine by me. In Chester we pry Susan from her parrots and I ask her to drive while I relax in the back seat letting Nova Scotia lazily drift by. My ladies delved into plant world save a few ohhs and ahhhs about the Audi’s tasteful interior.

Susan eventually pulls into Pineview Farm, a tidy nursery in Bridgewater. I develop a dull, information-overload feeling wandering the rows of flowering plants, meekly making suggestions that are trashed onto the unforgiving shoulders of gardening reality.

Wisecracks about previous deceased choices are passed around. Someone jokes about the peony I wanted last year and how it seems it will never resurface.

Most of the time my rebukes are relegated to “That’s the wrong colour”, “ those need a lot of shade” or “your Uncle Bob has some of those so you don’t you don’t need to buy them.” Hey, I haven’t been to Uncle Bob’s place near Kentville for years!

I leave my experts and wander out to the parking lot. The Audi looks like more fun that those potted plants anyway. I figure I’ll take the reins back from Susan and at least get to drive during the back end of the spin gone green. Let them deal with annuals and perennials while I comtemplate RPMs and final drive ratios.

I notice my ladies coming across the parking lot burdened down with fragrant sweeties.

“Be careful where you put them, Make sure they don’t get crushed.” My mother never bosses me around but plants are at stake here so I understand and play the good boy.

I slip behind the wheel and settle in. There is lots of laughter and talk of an ice cream cone surfaces. I take the coast road on the way back admiring crisp seascapes, soaking up the Audi. There is still plenty of plant talk but at one point I hear Mum whispering something to Susan.

“Audi A6, the spoiled brat!”

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