The first time I really new Blowfish and I were in for lifelong struggles was when we went to buy a lot for future homebuilding. I had found a lot I loved. An acre studded with beautiful Live Oaks along the shores of a small , pretty, spring fed pond.
I rounded up Blowfish and took him off to see this jewel of a find only to hear him say, " Damn Fishy, we'd have to spend most of the budget taking down these trees"
"You can't build a house on a lot with these big trees on it".
" Walk over here with me. There actually is a perfect clearing for the house. I can control the foot print so we will not have to lose any of these major trees."
" Well this one right here has to come out for my driveway."
" No! Look over here , this is the perfect spot for the driveway entrance between these two smaller oaks. Look how beautifully the limbs form a perfect Gothic arch over the exact spot of the driveway entrance."
" That's so stupid Fishy, over time the tree roots will damage a driveway and, if you put a house under a tree that is stupid too."
I am not overly fond of being called "stupid". My excitement over this awesome find was deflating fast.
" Blowfish, let me share a vision with you"
"Why? I don't like it, too many trees, too much raking, hard to mow around tree roots. No, this does not work for me"
I tried, and failed miserably in explaining to Blowfish the importance of our trees to Southerners. He hails from New York where, apparently, they take down every single tree. When I first met his parents they proudly told me they bought their lot because it was a " beautiful treed lakefront lot." Looking around I saw no trees so I said, " Oh no! What happened to your trees?" Looking puzzled they explained to the idiot Southerner it was necessary to take them all down because of the risk to the house in Winter. " What risk?", I had asked. Very patiently, as one does when talking to an idiot, they explained trees were risks to houses " Because of the weight of ice and snow in Winter and the snapping and falling in high winds." Really? I looked from face to face and said,
" We don't experience much of that here in Florida".
I learned over the years it was just not possible to ever change the Yankee beliefs of Blowfish or his parents. I did try hard to keep the worst of their beliefs out of Mermaid's head since she was born to, and was being raised in, the South. Once my beloved mother in law pulled me aside and told me it was not appropriate to teach Mermaid to say "Yes Ma'am or Yes Sir" because it was racist. They never accepted the manners of our region and did not want their grand daughter to either. That was not our best day.
The other night I was telling Blowfish how sorry I felt for a nearby family losing their anchor trees.
He asked, " Anchor trees?"
"You know, the key trees on the property which help anchor the home to the land."
"Fishy, don't be feeling sorry for people who do not have enough sense to take down the trees around the house. In fact we should talk to the treeman about taking some of ours down as a precaution".
" We won't be doing that."
" Why not?"
" I am a Southern woman, you threaten my trees you threaten me."
" You need to get over that."
" I have the right to self defense. For myself and those things which are important to me. You seem to not understand it is a tragedy for these families to have lost their trees. I spend thousands to keep our trees maintained because I love them. We will not be taking any of them down. To say you even want to is very disturbing. Sometimes I wonder if you have learned even one thing about me in three decades."
Blowfish had that look.
that passive aggressive calculating stillness which means he was through talking on a subject and would just proceed with what he had determined was right for him. I walked out of the room wondering if it was a sin to think about chainsaw accidents.