Monday, November 10, 2008

Best Fronds

Even after 20 years in the Los Angeles area, I am still awestruck and amused by our ubiquitous palm trees. Those of us who live here are trying to deny the news that a fungal disease is messing with our beloved palms, even though many specimens in Los Angeles county are already being replaced with oaks and sycamores. Every time I see new palms being planted -- their silly little topknots wrapped tight with rope, looking like giant paintbrushes stuck end down in the dirt --I smile and think, yeah, now that's the way it's supposed to be. I may be deluding myself but the many palms here in South Pas certainly look robust and healthy.

It doesn't make sense that anything as pedestrian as a fungal infection could vanquish a symbol of triumph. The palm branch represented victory and regeneration in ancient times. Romans awarded palm branches to athletic champions and victorious gladiators. A measly fungal infection? It can't dare compete with the winning vigor of a proud palm tree. And certainly not here. Heck, the motto of University of Southern California is Palmam qui meruit ferat -- Latin for "Let him bear the palm who deserves it."

I can think of someone who deserves a palm branch right about now...

When my mom was a little girl growing up in the tropical Rio Grande Valley of Texas, she actually tried to climb a palm tree by shimmying up the trunk. She managed to get up fairly high before she fell smack dab on her back. (I come from a long line of crazy women.) But after she fell, she got right back up. (And probably tried to do it again.) In that gleeful, optimistic spirit... this picture is for you, Mom! Feel better very soon.

23 comments:

Webradio said...

Very nice story Laurie about Your mother...

There is no palm tree here... But with Your blog, I can see often those trees...

Have a good day Laurie !

Tanya said...

Oh I miss palm trees!
Your mom is a crazy women,lol, hope she feels better soon :)

Hilda said...

Oh dear, your mom's sick? Hope she gets better soon!

Your palm trees look so much healthier than ours in Manila!

pasadenaadjacent.com said...

So moms on the mend...good news. I think the fungus was isolated to Rodeo drive palms in Beverly Hills. Yes, No? We like Palms at Pasadena Adjacent/Palm Axis. Answer to a previous comment, I'm a little bit country, I'm a little bit cynical punk. This weeekend, post I'm a romantic with an edge. Missed you,next time.

Virginia said...

These guys with they floppy moppy tops made me laugh this morning. I love em. Hope your mom feels better soon.
V

Becky said...

Hi! Thanks for the beautiful comments on my blog. They mean a lot.

My sister would absolutely love this shot - she's a sucker for palm trees. A true Californian, I suppose. She longs to live down there.

And it's true - we all recognize California streets with their palms!

Yakpate said...

To me, your Mom is every bit as much an icon as our California palm tree. I will never forget that evening in the Polo Lounge when she stopped to compliment the piano player, and ended up singing with him, wowing everyone in the lounge. She is truly a one of a kind beauty.

Get Well, Dixie!!!!!

ben wideman said...

very cool image! long live the palm.

Shanna said...

Long live the palm. And long live my sister, Dixie Jane! I think I am figuring out who yakpate is. I was not at the Polo Lounge that night, but I know who was. Yes, Dixie Jane is an icon! Feel better, Dixie !!!

Trish said...

Palms have always been this odd looking thing, not really tree-like, to me. Almost as if someone poured huge concrete tubes to place something fern-like atop them, because the trunks always seemed so hard and non-wood like to me as a child.

Sending good wishes and healing to your Mom. Gotta tell her to stay out of the trees once she's over 40! The tress bite BACK when we get older! ;-)

USelaine said...

It all depends on context, I suppose. I love this line-up of long-fronded exuberance.

But let's be clear, folks. Not ALL of California is palm tree country. 8^D

Hope said...

Hope your mom feels better soon. Sounds like she has quite the spirit...and love the palm trees...your blog is always so very nice to visit!

Mister Earl said...

Don't keep us music buffs in suspense. What did Dixie Jane sing at the Polo Lounge? Hope you feel better.

Ken Mac said...

great trees, great light, great shadow. God bless your moms. My mom is ill and you gotta pray..

Cafe Observer said...

Thanks 4 mentioning your wunderful, wise, & funny, Mom DJ. I pray she gets well enuf to start commenting again real soon.

I miss my Mom. She was de best. And, your's is in that "Best" category as well.

btw, thanks 4 de the Univ of So Cal mention. You warm my heart. I like you even more, LA!

Oh, uh, & sorry, for those kids who for whatever reason didn't have a good relationship with their mother, or may not have even known her.

Mademoiselle Gramophone said...

Tea for Dixie Jane

Laurie, it's as much a pleasure to read your words as it is to see your pictures.

Petrea said...

Sending good vibes to Dixie Jane. I love the title of your post.

Judy said...

That huge "splat" shadow of the complete tree top is really cool. Whenever I see someone plant a palm tree here, it looks so out of place, not to mention that it doesn't usually do very well. I remember when we were getting close to Harlingen, on family trips to South Texas, because there were huge similar palms lining the highway. I knew that our vacation was about to begin.

Judy said...

I commented before reading the entire post, so the South Texas (Mom) reference, certainly rang true for me too. Mom tried to climb one?? YIKES

Be well, Mom.

Dixie Jane said...

To all you wonderful people wishing me well, I am touched and tears are streaming down my face as I write. Thank you, Laurie, for the palm branch. I feel better already. As for the song I sang at the Polo Lounge, it was, "I Remember You." I love jazz and did some singing for about 14 years. If I were a man I would be a crooner. But the Polo Lounge was my 10 minutes of fame. Have you ever seen anyone walk three feet off the ground? Thanks for asking, Mister Earl.

As for you, Yak, you have to be my biggest fan and I love you dearly.

I have tried not to get too mushy or maudlin, but I just had to say what was in my heart.

I feel blessed to have two beautiful, caring and talented daughters, three beautiful grandchildren and a lovely little very talented artist sister. All who have made my life worth living.

May it ever be thus.

Laurie said...

I can't add anything more to that!

Thanks, everyone. (And I love you Mom!)

dcs said...

Dixie Jane (aka "Janie") is recovering beautifully--but how else would she?

Benjamin Madison said...

I love palms too and they've always been a symbol of California for me. I can still remember how excited I was when I saw my first while heading south on a bus in northern California. Quite aside from their many associations (with warmth and the tropics and Hollywood, etc) they have a kind of crazy grace that's very attractive.