I love my vegetable garden. It is my pride. It is my joy. As the fall vegetables move toward harvest and the winter ones remain on deck, I am fortunate to have year round peppers that flourish – these include Serrano, Cayenne and the hottest Habanero peppers you have tasted this side of Mexico. Unfortunately, my pleasure is often interrupted by these green opportunistic mercenaries who are a menace to my delight.
They eat my leaves. They eat my vegetables. They make me angry. Very angry. Today, after finding one on my Habanero plant, I went through a range of emotions.
I didn’t want to clean my shoe…
Not cruel enough…
I can hear it from the wife, “you used my scissors?!”…
Police Officer: “Sir, is this your caterpillar?”
Me: “It was.”
Police Officer: “It struck your elderly neighbor who lives 280 yards down your street. She was in her back yard.”
What am I to do with this trespasser?
As I pondered its demise…
My Daughter: “Daddy, what do you have there?”
Me: [crap!]: “Oh, nothing honey, it’s just a caterpillar.”
My Daughter: “A caterpillar! I want to see!! I want to see!!”
Me: [Sigh. Showing it to her]
My Daughter: “Oh, it is so cute! Are we going to drop him off at a tree so his mommy and daddy can pick him up?”
[a tradition started by my wife to which I have never consented]
Me: “Uh…sure, honey. We can do that.”
My Daughter: “Cool! I will go get my shoes!”
Me to Caterpillar, bringing him close: “This is your shot at redemption. You get one…”
Caterpillar to Me: “…”
My Daughter, shoes on: “Let’s go!”
We trekked a couple of blocks down our street until we reached a dirt trail with rows of large trees that parallel a small stream. I picked a tree that is full of green leaves…and hungry birds. My daughter placed the caterpillar on one such leaf and waved goodbye. My scowl temporarily turned into a smile.
Tomorrow night, we play the Anaheim Ducks. There will be no mercy. No redemption. Only visceral hatred and rage. We will not drop live ducks off at any pond. Our L.A. Kings will slaughter them on the ice and send their symbolic corpses in caskets, small and narrow, to rot back in Orange County. Preseason or not, only one result is acceptable. Bring your lungs to Staples Center.