Yesterday I found myself missing my mother. I was mucking about one of the many Houston Garden Center locations, loading my shopping cart up with clearance sale outdoor plants to plug holes in my flowerbeds. Despite being the granddaughter and daughter of gifted gardeners, I have the knack of being able to kill almost any plant known to man. This is not a boast. At one time my yard looked like something from a Southern Gothic novel by James Faulkner, and definitely not one of the happier tomes. It had a survive or die kind of theme going.
My mother and her father could grow anything. Give them a clipping, and they’d have a monster plant in six months. My mother once got a tiny potted Norfolk Island Pine as a hospital gift, and it ended up over six feet tall before my grandfather “accidentally” left it out in a winter freeze.
When she bought her last house, she transformed the yard from rock hard north Louisiana clay covered with St. Augustine Grass, and little else, to a lush landscape with rich, rich loam soil. I gave some of Mom’s flower bulbs to a friend’s mom, and she took one look at the black earth stuck to the bulbs and sighed with envy. 40 plus years of composting and lovingly tending her garden had accomplished that.
Somehow I ended up with my grandfather’s gardening books, which were outdated but really cool, a gift from Mother. She knew I needed all the help I could use. When my husband and I bought a house in Knoxville, we also gained a beautiful garden of native plants, Daffodils, and plants that could never thrive in north Louisiana. Mother sent cuttings to me, and I sent them to her. Still managed to kill the ones she sent me, but then she probably knew that would happen.
Over ten years after she died, I unlearned the urge to call her on the phone, hid photographs, and almost anything that brought back the searing pain of losing her to Stage IV lung cancer. Strangely the plants of hers that I dragged down to our home in Houston managed to thrive. She would’ve killed me if she’d seen how my grandfather’s Night Blooming Cereus put on a show. Cacti grew to be huge. Very strange for me, the plant killer of renown.
As I stood there in that garden center, staring at unmarked pots of plants, I knew my mother would’ve known their common names, how they grew, what kind of soil and sun they needed, and how long it would take for them to take over the Greater Houston Area. It was a very sharp and bittersweet moment She used to tell me how much it pained her to outlive her beloved parents, sister, cousins, and friends, and it puzzled and alarmed me. She said no one remained who’d known her as a baby, a little girl, and it was depressing to her. Now I understand. As I stood there looking at that unmarked pot of ivy it all made sense.
My sweet friend Lisa is looking down from Heaven and laughing at me… Why? Because with some sort of subliminal mind meld, she sucked me into the True Blood vortex. I had no intention of going there. None what so ever. Lisa, Lisa, Lisa.
We grew up in north Louisiana, the fictional setting of Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse vampire novels, and herein was my problem. I hate bad Southern acting, movies, and poorly done Southern accents. I call it the Cold Mountain Syndrome, where non Southerners made hideous mistakes about geography, culture, pronunciation, and levels of intelligence. To this day Donald Sutherland and Nicole Kidman give me the willies…
Harris’ novels themselves have so many errors about Louisiana geography and culture that I don’t have room to rant about them here. That being said, my friend Lisa had gotten me hooked on the novels, which are a bit of a 12 volume ride in frustration, and the tv series which makes me nuts. And yet I still watch them, and read those novels. Never said I was sane, people.
This gets me back to why there’s no hope in my mind for Season 7 of True Blood. The original novels are about Sookie Stackhouse and her human and supernatural friends and foes. Short, too short, the books didn’t give a lot of detail or story lines about secondary characters. Along came the tv series, and the secondary characters took over the show, and ran away with it. Characters who died in the first novel still live through Season 6. Characters who had no presence in the novels were created, which muddied the series plot lines even more.
Sookie became her own secondary character. Her relationship to Eric, the whole reason I got hopelessly hooked on the books, became tertiary. While the series has meandered about, with even for supernatural stories ridiculous plot development, Sookie and Eric became the casualties of too many scriptwriters and directors. Granted that Sookie’s kind of an idiot anyway, and not the intellectual equal of her vampire lover, perhaps that storyline was too weak to carry, but it would’ve been wonderful to see what could have been.
The all too brief romance that Eric and Sookie had in Series 4 was just a badly written teaser of what could’ve been. The last of the Stackhouse novels ended with one of the worst last lines in an English novel, and an army of angry readers lashing out at Harris in scary emails and postings online. This is what happens when a writer ignores what her readers try to tell her, and big surprise those people were ready with pitchforks and torches. Series 6 has ended with the True Blood fans scratching their heads, wondering if Eric is alive, what the hell was Warlow doing in this series, and should we bother watching Series 7, the last of the show.
Many diehard True Blood fans are promising to boycott the next series if Eric is dead, and with Alexander Skarsgard’s contract up, who knows what that season holds for us. Sookie is now with Alcide, big surprise, with Bill wringing his hands once again. No Quinn the Tiger ever showed up, and I think that’s a shame. A big gorgeous purple eyed man candy who could turn into a tiger would’ve been worth watching.
The Alexander Skarsgard fans out there can console themselves with his current projects and past, through movie theaters, Netflicks, Amazon, and even HuluPlus.