Congratulations!

Prairie Wool

Helen Row Toews

It was a busy and emotional time this past week as our daughter Aliyah graduated from Lloydminster’s Comprehensive High School. We’re very proud of her, as I know all other parents are equally proud of their sons and daughters. Each graduate has worked hard to reach this pinnacle of achievement.

The school staff, parent committees and volunteers in communities across Canada also worked hard to create special graduation events, under difficult circumstances, so that the kids would have memories to treasure for a lifetime. We’re all very grateful to them.

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It was an exciting time to be sure, and although my son Justin, oldest daughter Rebecca and I were a snug fit in our small car’s back seat, we happily watched as Aliyah received her diploma and participated in the grand march.

Granted, once Justin, who had been waiting outside his home to be picked up for this event, clambered into the car, the atmosphere in our vehicle became somewhat suffocating, due to his absent-minded indulgence of a clump of chives that grow near his front step.

Who does that?

Whatever would possess someone to chomp down a fistful of green onions prior to sitting thigh to thigh with family members who are forced to share the same air with you for the better part of three hours?

Although they weren’t present at the time, I blame my two red-neck uncles for Justin’s lapse in judgement. They taught my children from an early age to enjoy such atrocities as peanut butter and onion sandwiches. Anyway, not even onions, or the residual breath thereof, could dampen our spirits on this momentous day.

Until we got home that was. Aliyah’s sparkly dress was hung back in its protective bag, Rebecca did her laundry, Justin went home to brush his teeth (I hope), my husband began trimming his toenails, and I dealt with a nasty mealybug infestation.

Talk about a rude jolt back to reality.

I didn’t even know several of my plants were infected with the dastardly insect until a friend texted to inform me that the hoya I’d cheerfully given for her birthday, was diseased. She warned me to check the others.

Have you ever laid eyes on a mealybug? They are horrid. It took me three hours with dish soap, Q-tips and a washcloth to clean them off my plants, and each subsequent day begins with a frantic search through the foliage for more. For several nights thereafter, the bloody things even crept through my dreams. I couldn’t get a wink of sleep as I wielded an enormous Q-tip dipped in coffee, (don’t ask) to battle a group of enormous mealybugs that slunk through the flower bed leaving their foul, white residue on my petunias, and then moved on to suck the life out of my leafy greens.

To be honest, I now have mealybugs on the brain and see them everywhere I look! I even caught myself closely examining a plastic plant in Walmart for the sinister creatures. I have to admit that some form of therapeutic intervention may be needed in order to put this whole unpleasant interlude behind me.

In any case, I must come back to the original point before things take another ugly turn and I get started on my wood tick rant. Onions and mealybugs are quite enough for one day.

Congratulations to all graduates everywhere! You deserve our praise.

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