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Kimball, Minnesota
June 4, 2009     Tri-County News
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June 4, 2009

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.gl~'u,, ~,, &/JL ~" I[~ ':!-- il ' pn o I i Thursday, June 4, 2009 .. Tri-Coqunty News: K imba l i :,i " " let Na{e Fredricksou Jim! Pert , .......................... ..... " -. . - -%TSlices Lif '- 'UIAT ..... i!! Fly the friendly skies? Returning to one's roots Overtwentyyearsagoonemajor us on cross-continental flights. Mylowerbackthrobs.Myknees This weekend, after a five-year airline adopted the motto, "Fly the Although your pillows were very creak. My nose is running. My sabbatical, I returned to my gar- friendly skies," obviously to con- tiny- yet still slightly bigger than eyes are itchy and red. Bug bites dens. I pulled unwanted plants. vey how lovely their crew would the bathrooms on most planes - dot my thighs. My fingers are dry, I raked and dug; hoed and tilled. treat you, the customer. I cannot that delicate little tuft of polyes- cracked and scratched. My nails I stooped and hunched; sweated speak for the aforementioned air- ter helped me get a little shuteye are crusted with dirt. My shoul- and groaned; reached and tugged. line, but I have noticed the skies while that whisper-deficient busi- ders are sunburned, Every time I wrestled long-rooted plants from that I have flown in recent years nessman behind me droned on I go to sit down my hamstrings the earth. I rescued a hosta, nearly have not been nearly as friendly as about why the captive guy next to scream out in agony, buried alive by a bionic shrub. I they used to be. him should invest in his Somalian I'd forgotten how much I love threw unwanted debris into the I know there are things out time-share scheme, gardening, compost pile and valuable worms of any airline's control like the An Offer You Can't Refuse-OnI used to spend eons tendingback into the garden. The earth unpleasant popping of the ears at a recent flight, when checking my the soil and growing things in the was my canvas again and I was certain altitudes, the stale air after bag, the ticket agent didn't merely garden, but then I took on a new aching all over because of it. It felt hours aloft, and that large guy in say, "T.hanks and have a good hobby: growing children. Tending good. the seat directly behind mine who flight," like he used to. He instead to my kids took more and more of I planted new selections. The is apparently incapable of whis- responded with, "That will be fif- my time and my hours in the gar- area that used to house my more pering when nearly everyone else teen dollars, please." den withered until they hardly " exotic varieties - foxtail, delphin- on the flight is trying to sleep. "Fifteen dollars? You've got be existed at all. ium and lupines - is now home But there are things I think kidding me," I said. "We've never For the last five years my kids to squash, pumpkins and green the aviation honchos at corporate had to pay to checkour luggage!"- have been growing like weeds,beans. I think the kids will get a office should consider improving "In lieu of the baggage fee, the while my gardens have been over- kick out of seeing the fruit and veg- in the future like .., airline will be glad to accept your come by them. etables grow on the vines. Maybe Extremely Skinny Seats - I am first born," informed the ticket In the half-decade's time when they'll enjoypicking the beans and 5'9" (well, almost. I'm rounding agent. I didn't have time to parent my eating them right offthe plant, like up a little) and under 160 pounds, "But We're only flying coach," I gardens, Mother Nature took over I did when I was growing up, Like yet I can barely fit into them! Evi- said. (like any good mother would), fill- life, gardening is an exercise in dently airline seats were exclu- "In that case the airline has ing in with her own horticultural flexibility and change. sively designed to accommodate informed me that your' sec- choices. My gardens, while green, AsIpatteddownthesoilaround pygmy supermodels, ond born will be acceptable,, he are not the blooming perennial- the last new plant, the day was Storage Compartments - Just responded after Consulting with filled sensations that I envisioned drawing to a close. I fertilized and slightly larger than the glove com- his manager, when I planted them way back mulched. And I was done. partment in the '79 Honda Civic "But I am somewhat fond of my when. Now it is evening. My muscles my wife had when we were dating, children. I'll pay the extra charge," I hesitate to use the word grow stiff and ache when sum- these diminutive baggage recepta- I sigh as I relieve my wallet of the "weeds." I've always felt that weed moned. I am tired - but only in cles will barely hold, air much less extortion money and make my is a relative term. It's judgmental the best of ways. I will go to bed the average-sized carry-on bag. way through security, and unkind. What plant wants to early and sleep hard, like a person Although, to be completely fair, Finding a seat, I join the other be a weed? I'm sure God didn't put should after a day of gardening. As that may have less to do with the passengers in returning my belt to any weeds in the Garden of Eden. I type this, I hear the sound of slow storage compartment and more to its rightful place around my waist They were all plants. Just plants - steady rain coming down from the do with that one guywho attempts along with all the other things growing and reaching for the sun sky. It is a perfect endingto the day to smuggle a steamer trunk on that could potentially set off the like plants are createdto do.for me, and the perfect beginning board, passing it off as a shoulder metal detector (thank heavens I So, let's just say that during the of the season for my newest babies bag (for those of us born in the last wore clean underwear that day). last fiveyears, Mother Nature filled growing outside. 40 years) that's a massive piece of While tyingmy shoes the guy next my backyard plots with plants that Thank you, Mother Nature. Victorian era luggage), to me inquires as to 'where I am belonged in someone else's garden What, No More Pillow? - headed.' (like maybe Adam and Eve's). The Jill Pertler is a syndicated col- Granted, I know I only fly coach, "Dallas," I respond. "And your- realization hit me on Saturday: As umnist and award-winning free- which means I don't get the perks self?." nice as Mother Nature's reprieve lance writer. She appreciates your those special few receive in first "Somalia. I've got a timeshare had been, it was time to take back comments and can be reached at class, but I must implore the air- there." . mysoil. , or you can linestogiveusbackthepillowsyou Copyright 2009, N.M. Fredrick- For as long as I can remem- check out her Web site at