Getting the Book – and Intimidated

December 20, 2010

Last week I received an email from an unfamiliar address titled “Your books are here!” I am a frequent (okay, obsessive) book buyer from Amazon and often purchase their used selections, but couldn’t remember purchasing anything used recently (for holiday gifts, I refer to the used books as “collector’s items” or “vintage”).

When I opened the email, the name instantly clicked. It was from the Master Gardener program and urged me to pick up my books, or I could wait until the first class.

Yeah. Right. Like I could wait.

Tony and I drove there this morning, the first unexpected and rather out of the way stop on our annual Christmas shopping day (We visit Oak Brook for The Container Store, Crate and Barrel and the like to buy stocking stuffers and enjoy lunch). I noted how long it took and also noted there was no traffic, so will double the drive time for my first day of “school.” The Will County Farm Bureau, where the University of Illinois Extension office is located, is a small, unassuming but attractive building just off Manhattan in Joliet. The front walk is edged with native grasses and there is a funny mailbox on the right.

Walking in, I was greeted by two older glass-fronted refrigerators filled with cheese, milk, cheese curds and eggs. There was also a cabinet displaying honey, for which I am a real sucker (that seems to run in the family, as Eliza carries a bottle in her purse – the ragpicker bag – at all times. Protects that singing throat, you know). These shopping opportunities are going to be a real weekly challenge. I love cheese. I especially love different flavors, things I haven’t tasted before – in my eggs, on crackers, sliced, baked with raspberry jam, melted on Italian bread, grilled sandwiches.

Cheese is delicious.

I tore myself away from the delights of the dairy diversity. I noticed a full country store, a business office and then the extension office, all opening into that front foyer, which was festively decorated for Christmas. A dark-haired lovely young woman asked if she could help me and I asked for Nancy, the woman who sent the email. She introduced herself as Marianna and said she could help. She led me to a small table where I signed for the book. I noticed there were a few groups – one person picked up books for several different people.

Then she gave me the book.

Oh my goodness.

This thing is MASSIVE. It is a beautiful manual, plastic spiral bound, full color, glossy. I walked back to the car, thinking that Tony should be carrying this because of the restriction about my lifting heavy objects for the next few weeks. When I flipped through it, I became intimidated. There are pages and pages of sketches of bugs to identify, pages and pages of diseases to learn, charts of soil types and problems, tree barks – goodness gracious, thousands of things of which I have given little thought. I was so proud that we’re composting! Oh! There’s a whole chapter on THAT!

I showed the book to my mom and exclaimed about the chapter on roses. “I don’t know anything about roses,” I lament. My mom, who planted, tended, powdered, watered and cared for a stunning, fragrant and extensive rose garden in our back yard in Harvey (I still think of the purple rose with fondness and nostalgia), says, “There’s only one thing you need to know about roses. Don’t plant ’em because they’re too much work.”

Well. Somebody has lost the love.

As for me, I’m looking forward to some seriously fun reading.

It's HERE!! My Master Gardener Manual!!!!!!

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One Response to “Getting the Book – and Intimidated”

  1. cr8cakes said

    I’m so jealous! Have a great time in class.

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