tropicana, my February dream
When I was growing up – back in ancient times, as we refer to it at the threadingwater residence – it wasn’t toys, clothes or the generally mediocre offerings of the Scholastic Reader catalogs that inspired my daydreams. It was my mother’s annual rose catalog from Jackson & Perkins.
It arrived in early spring when we ached, physically and mentally, for the end of cold and snow, and bleakly faced the acres of colorless landscape around us each morning. God, how I loved that catalog! Page after page of gussied-up, glistening, velvety petals in shades of pink, red, yellow – even lavender in later years – spilling out hope and promise for a summer season just when we needed it most.
I hoarded those catalogs long after my mother had placed her order for the year, and memorized the names of the annual award-winning cover models the way my brothers memorized baseball or football statistics; Chrysler Imperial, John F. Kennedy, Peace, Mr. Lincoln, and my all-time favorite, Tropicana.
Tropicana never fit into my mother’s color-schemed garden. It was too bawdy. Too outrageous and showy. Too, well, there’s no other way to say it – orange.
On this summer solstice, I salute Tropicanas wherever they are found growing. I know you’re out there, blooming loud and unrestrained in your blowsy, full-skirted and embarrassingly orange way.