The grand facade so soon will burn.

In the Chicagoland suburbs there is a phenomena that I have observed recently since becoming a home owner, hostas.

Yes those plants that everyone seems to have on the side, and sometimes in the front or back, of their yards and homes. Big, green leaves that are usually streaked with white but can be darker or solid green.

I first actually noticed these plants growing during my childhood, in my dad’s parent’s yard. They have long stems that shoot up from the leaves with almost lily-like flowers that burst from clusters at the end. I remember being fascinated with the waxy things. Apparently, I was not alone.

My first house didn’t have them, nor did my parent’s house that I grew up in that I can remember. My second house, the on I live in now, however does. Again, on the sides of the house mostly. Why the sides? From what I can see, after finally noticing hostas is that’s where you find them. The second thing I noticed is that they cannot be stopped. Contained, yes. Stopped no.

And that’s the thing that really made me want to stop and write about it. I’ve come to notice hostas don’t stop. You can dig them up and give them away to people but the one you remove will quickly come back to fill in for the missing ones.

You will, want to dig them up and give them to people. And people, at least in the burbs out here, will take them. That also means that people will want to give you theirs.

My uncle is said to have a variety of at least two dozen different hosta types. Why? I’m not sure but he does. And if you ask, I’m sure he’ll offer some, no matter how many hostas you have. The whole “Would you like some hostas?” thing is like a handshake. You want to simultaneously give them away and receive them.

Again, these are not remarkable plants. You wouldn’t miss them if they have never been created as part of whatever God’s plan is for them. On the other hand, no one would notice were you to fill your whole yard with them. They are just that bland and banal…to me at least.

They are part of the Midwestern homestead landscape though and, therefore, part of my heritage. So, here’s to you hosta; the plant, the conversation piece, the gift, the dull wonder.


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