This story begins with the cabbages.
They’re not really cabbages, but Giant Silver Mullein. Last year, I planted six under our bedroom windows, hoping to subdue the weeds that rampage over that strip of the world. It worked. They spread their fuzzy, massive leaf rosettes, and the weeds retreated.
David hated them. “They’re ugly. They look like cabbages, and the bottom leaves are rotting.”
I had to agree. “They’re supposed to bloom next year,” I said. “Let’s wait and see if we like them better. If we don’t, I’ll pull them up.”
The blooms began with soft, fat spikes poking up from the center of each rosette. The spikes branched out and stretched taller, taller, taller. One morning when I opened the bedroom curtains, I was startled to see them peering in. Then masses of yellow blossoms popped out, covering much of each spike. They were Dr Seuss plants, weird and comical.
I went looking for the ID tab that had come with them.
“They’re verbascum bombyciferum,” I told David. I wasn’t sure how it was actually pronounced, but I put the emphasis on “bas” and “cif.” The words rolled out in a deeply satisfying way.
He was fascinated. “Sounds like a curse from the Harry Potter books.” He held one hand out and ordered, “Verbascum bombyciferum!”
I went on the computer to see what else I could learn and landed on a blog called Hortophile. Scrolling down, I couldn’t believe what I saw. I read aloud, “‘If pronounced with enough fervor, it sounds like a magic spell conjured up by that wordsmith – J.K. Rowling. It kinda sounds like a spell to make you explode if you don’t stop talking.’”
The discovery of David’s online twin hit both of us as hilarious. Why does that happen with some things, and not with others that are probably much funnier? At the time, I wasn’t analyzing. And I wasn’t comparing, as I too often do (pre-accident fun vs. inferior post-accident fun). I was just laughing, buoyed up by the magic.
Maybe you had to be there.
I’m glad I was.