Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Enjoying the Fruits of One's Labor

I usually talk on the phone with my parents every weekend or two.  As you may recall, they retired to Florida just over 5 years ago.  We haven’t lived in the same town since 1986 so the calling habit is pretty ingrained.  
When we spoke on Sunday, I received some very happy news.  My dad had finally been able to fulfill one of his lifelong dreams: to walk outside and pick an orange from his very own orange tree.  Seriously, I think that was the main reason they moved to Florida… that and the fact that no one has invented a tree that grows giant fish sandwiches. 

OK, I make room for the fact that living with Green Bay’s 76,000 feet of snow every year might get a bit tiresome in one’s Golden Years.

It took quite a while to get to this point.  There were some false starts with tree plantings, and trees that never yielded anything but hard, green little nuggets.  (Remember, this was the guy that used his golf clubs as tomato stakes, just to amuse his next-door neighbor.)  And as I recall, he also has pear and fig trees planted, but I don’t think those efforts have borne fruit yet.

Finally, the day was at hand when Dad could begin the harvest of his crops!

How cool is it to be able to pick fresh oranges in December?  Unfortunately it may be a while until he has enough for juice.  I predict that pretty soon, he’s not going to have a back yard at all; he’ll have a grove.  I don’t know what he’s going to do, though, once the trees get bigger than him.  (Which won’t take much!)

But the back yard wasn’t the only area of improvement.  I also learned about a new story.

Aside from orange trees, Dad always wanted palm trees too.  They house they bought came with 2 big sega palms, which were along the driveway.  Right beside the palms appeared this other plant.  Dad didn’t know what it was but it grew like crazy.  In fact, they took to decorating it with twinkle lights for Christmas.  Because it grew so quickly, Dad took to trying to shape it like a pine tree, to make it more Christmas tree-ish.  At one point, it grew to 12 feet tall.
The arrow marks the plant in question, during its early days.  I’m approximating the 12’ mark to which it grew.

Eventually they asked a neighbor what the plant was and were shocked to find out that it was basically a weed.  And thus it became known as The Christmas Weed.  The neighbors (once again) must have thought they were nuts… Crazy Yanks.

Well, you can call it the Temporary Christmas Weed now, because Dad yanked it out of there last week and replaced it with something more traditional.
I don’t know what it is, but it’s conical and came from a nursery, so it must be an official plant.

While we were talking about the Christmas decorations, I asked if they’d put up my favorite of their ornaments this year.

I’ve mentioned in the past that our family’s ornaments tend to be a series of one-of-a-kind things, as opposed to boxes of the same bulbs.  We put up crazy quilt Christmas trees, not thematic statements.  And we tend to have some pretty weird stuff up there, like mini Jack Daniels bottles and lots of kid-art.  But one item takes the cake.

It was a gift from my dad’s friend Frank, aka “Frank the Lob.”  Dad and The Lob have a long history of gag-gifting each other, each more ridiculous than the next.  One year, The Lob sent Dad this:
I present: the “B’jhonk” Warmer, thoughtfully knitted in Steelers colors.  It’s not stuffed or anything.  It’s made to “encase.”

I have no idea how to spell “bajhonk,” so I’m making an approximation.  That’s what Dad usually calls it.  It sounds like “ba-zhonk,” which is another term for… well… I think you can tell from looking at it.  It’s another word for “lob,” if you will.

Dad described it this way: “The Steeler Salami Warmer was a present to me from The Lob when we moved to Green Bay.  He thought it would help keep me warm, but it was way too small.  He said he thought it was the perfect size but that was a guess.  Anyway, from 1990 on, we have been putting it on our Christmas Tree and is “One of Our Favorite Things.”

If I know my parents, Dad probably puts it right up front on the tree, and once he goes back to watch football, Mom moves it around to the side.  Here’s a shot of it up on the tree:
I’m not sure if they hang it there (snicker), or just slip it over one of the branches.  Talk about a little prick…  (Woooo!)

Dad has a bunch of crazy-assed stories about The Lob; at some point, I’m going to have to tell them.  It’s not like he’d mind… Who do you think sent me all the pictures to post?

20 comments:

  1. I want one of those B'jhonk Warmers!

    I have no idea what I'd do with it, or to whom I'd give it, but I want one. Maybe two.

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  2. Kernut,
    Perhaps there's an analogous female item, like a Gazonga Warmer. Might take up more room on the tree though.

    You may not have use for a b'jhonk warmer now, but just think of how happy you could make some nice guy, somewhere down the road. In fact, I bet you could have made the Naked Book Store Owner's day with one.

    (Everyone that hasn't read Kernut's latest post should do so immediately, and then that last comment will make more sense.)

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  3. Arizona Cypress is the newcomer. Perfect to decorate now but can grow to 30 feet which will not happen on Dad's watch. He doesn't like anything taller than him, including orange trees.
    Bahjohnk is a brave spelling attempt. The word belongs to the Lob who rarely spells anything but he is now working on a compendium of terms for the male member, our first PRICKTIONERY. After that, he will begin a dictionary of synonyms for the posterior, a THESAURASS.
    We do need another Noah Webster and a new Peter Mark Roget.

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  4. Wow, I mean, my aunt has a tradition of clipping these bird ornaments onto her tree that her family bought for her and that she absolutely hates, and my stepmom puts pickle ornaments all over her tree because her maiden name is pickle-related, and my sister sends me pictures of this ornament she bought my mom when we were kids that looks just like me and now goes on my sister's tree, but . . .

    That's nasty.

    I'm very jealous of that orange, though.

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  5. Wow, that phallus on a tree is just plain hilarious. Your parents are so funny! And I love that he's still wearing shorts in December. Yay for the south!

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  6. Mary Ann
    OK, so it’s “bahjohnk”. Glad that’s cleared up.

    Tell The Lob to contact me if he needs help with material for his Pricktionary. I majored in euphemisms in college, starting with those things that were the most near and dear to me.

    Mundane
    Now I’m trying to guess your Step Mother’s maiden name… Dill? Vlasic? Um… Barrel?

    I love bird ornaments, so your Aunt can send hers to me. I promise to send her a pic every year, which she can forward to her family.

    Lastly, if you actually had your own bahjohnk, you would think a nice knit warmer was a great idea.

    Jessica,
    Now remember that it’s not a solid, it’s just a “wrapper,” like a big wooly condom. And yes, they’re quite nuts. Which is obviously where I get it.

    Dad never wears long pants any more, unless he comes up north to visit us.

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  7. Aren't you glad to have such a good subject to write about?

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  8. Dad,
    It's the gift that keeps on giving.

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  9. The bahjohnk warmer...awesome! A tree that grows fish sandwiches might be better, though. I'm gonna get working on that.

    I can't wait to read more stories about "The Lob" .followed!

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  10. What a clever ornament! Maybe I could knit some to sell at craft shows. Do you think they would sell?

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  11. Insomniac
    Wow! Some Lob support…

    Suffice to say, The Lob is a real character, born and bred in Worcester Mass. There are a bunch of stories my dad has about his adventures with The Lob. I’ll probably have to get a refresher on them, but there’s one in particular I think I can tell, about a long train trip they took together.

    Stay tuned, and hey! Thanks for visiting!

    Judie
    I know they would sell. In fact, I bet you could do a whole Etsy shop just for those.

    “Arizona Bahjohnks Ltd.”

    Hmmm… might be a tough sell at craft shows in Arizona… maybe they would sell better in Minnesota.

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  12. When I was a kid, I planted three tangerine seeds in a spider plant pot & my family told me they would never grow. Well, they were wrong - I ended up with 2 trees (that we replanted in pots & kept indoors) that lived about 30 years. We never got fruit, though, but they were beautiful.

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  13. Christmas weed? Back in the day, I think we used to call that red bud.

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  14. Gina,
    That's great... you had 30 years worth of living, growing, "I told you so."

    Sherry,
    Yeah... whole different weed, I assume. Othewise, I'd have seen my folks featured on an episode of "Cops-Pensacola."

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  15. It ain't Christmas until someone puts a penis warmer on the tree.

    My kinda Christmas.

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  16. Cassie,
    Obviously, stockings aren't the only things that are hung at Christmas.

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  17. I think The Guy needs a B'jhonk Warmer in Saints colors in his stocking this year.

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  18. Mrs. Bachelor Girl,
    It's perfect for the Guy that has everything.

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  19. So how was the orange? And more importantly what was it mixed with?

    a) Vodka
    b) Jack Daniels
    c) Iron City beer
    d) prescription medicine
    e) staight

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  20. Well, if it isn't my long lost Brother from Another Mother, Bruce! What's shakin', man?

    From what Dad said, the orange was fine but he doesn't have enough to start making juice for his screwdrivers.

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