I plant seeds myself, but most of my seeds are sewn outside the garden. Let me give you an example.
My father-in-law comes from a family of eleven children - a large and close family. They have a reunion every year with the siblings taking turns to plan the annual event. I think that’s pretty cool. We have been fortunate to make it to most of the annual events, including this year’s gathering which was held in Ankeny, Iowa.
Coming from a large family myself, it’s always fun for me to watch the interaction of the Carlo kids, and getting to talk with each of them.
The Carlo boys all have something in common with a lot of men - hair loss, with the exception of Gail. “How is it possible?” I asked Gail. “What do you mean?” He replied a bit confused. “How is it in a family of eleven kids, you ended up with all the good looks?” I asked. Gail blushed and said, “Oh, I don’t know about that.” “It’s true,” I assured him, “you’re far and away the best looking of all the Carlo boys...and the hair! How did you manage to keep that beautiful, full head of hair when your brothers all lost theirs?” Gail continued blushing, and I moved on.
A few minutes later I was talking to his brother Clark. He wrote a book which is something I aspire to do myself one day. Clark was telling me he enjoys reading my stories, which flattered me and caused me to blush. To divert the attention away from myself, I asked, “How is it Clark, that in a family of eleven kids, you ended up with all the good looks?” Now it was Clark’s turn to blush a little. “I mean it,” I assured him, “you’re far and away the best looking of all the Carlo boys.” I left Clark blushing and moved on.
I was talking with his brother Roger. Roger and I share a common talent - making pies. We both love making pies, and I have to say, he makes the best blackberry pie I’ve ever had; I’d put his blackberry pie up against anyone’s! Roger’s arm was in a sling following a recent shoulder surgery.
“How did you do it?” I asked him while we were standing next to the dessert table. Roger explained, “Well, I had my daughter roll out the crust for me since my arm is in this sling and...” I interrupted,” “That’s not what I meant. I was wondering how it is that in a family of eleven kids, you ended up with all the good looks?” Roger blushed, “Oh, I’m not so sure about that.” I assured him, “I mean it. You’re far and away the best looking of all the Carlo boys!” I left Roger blushing and moved on.
I was talking with his brother, Adrian. Quite the innovative one, he had made discs and cues to play shuffle board on the smooth tile floor at the venue where the reunion was held. “How did you do it?” I asked Adrian. He explained, “Well I used PVC pipe to make the handles and oversized metal washers to make the discs and I...”
I interrupted. “That’s not what I meant.” I said, “How it is in a family of eleven kids, you ended up with all the good looks?” Adrian blushed. “Why don’t you go grab a stick over there and we’ll play shuffle board.” “I mean it, Adrian,” I assured him, “you’re far and away the best looking of all the Carlo boys.” I left Adrian there blushing and I went to get a cue.
Adrian and his teammate, Steve, beat Clark and me, 50-35. A new team came on the court to challenge the reigning winners. I went over and talked to Fred.
Fred and I talked bout large families. I am in the middle of my family where Fred is the baby in his. “I guess you have bragging rights.” I said to Fred. “What do you mean?” He asked. I explained, “My baby brother always says, ‘Mom and Dad quit having babies after me because you can’t do better than perfect.’” We shared a good laugh over that. “That’s true.” Fred agreed.
“How is it, Fred, that in a family of eleven kids, you got all the good looks. Maybe that’s why you were the last kid - your parents knew they couldn’t have a better looking kid than you!” Fred blushed and made some reference to me being full of bologna. “I mean it, Fred.” I assured him, “you’re far and away the best looking of all the Carlo boys.” I left Fred blushing and I moved on
I headed to the dessert table looking for a slice of blackberry pie. I was too late, it was gone. My disappointment would soon subside as I looked about the choices on the table top. “Ooo. Hello brownies!” Enjoying one of the moist, delicious, chocolatey treats, and then another. I looked around the room to make sure no one noticed me mowing down the brownies.
I had talked with each of the Carlo boys, individually assuring them, they were the best looking of all - except my father-in-law, Phil. I’ve already told him he’s far and away the best looking of all the Carlo boys. Some times men will say things like this when pursuing “favorite son-in-law” status.
My seeds were planted. I snickered a bit imagining a day when this flower bed would bloom. Some day the boys would talk; one would declare, “I’m the best looking.” Another would challenge, “No, I’m the best looking.” Only to have third claim, “No, it’s me. I’m the best looking,” and so on. Eventually one would say, “Tom told me...” and then they would be on to my shenanigans. The flowers would come to blossom and we would all enjoy the blooms.
Although the thought caused me to giggle, the truth is not all seeds germinate. The Carlo boys are good men; and make up a handsome lot, indeed. But each is too modest to ever boast claims of being any better looking than another.
It was good getting to talk with each of them; the fun conversations we had and the laughs we shared. The reunion was well planned and carried out, everyone had a great time. I tip my hat to Adrian and his daughter, Adriana, who planned this year’s festivities, and I look forward to attending next years get together.
I should however, be careful in planting such seeds of mischief. It could backfire on me some day. After all it is said: as ye sew, so shall ye reap.
Tom Palen can be reached at Facebook.com/tom.palen.98