Saturday, September 26, 2009

Birth Control with Potatoes

Floridacracker over at Pure Florida did a post the other day regarding the Florida "air potato", and it reminded me of a story of a time from my past that included the air potato.

I was working for a property management company at an adult community. We'd had a complaint from a resident about the air potatoes behind her house. I rode out to her place on a golf cart (the standard mode of transportation in south Florida adult communities), and listened to her as she showed me her air potato plague and educated me on the invasive attack of the air potato in Florida. When she was done, she sent me back to my office with a few potatoes in hand to give to my boss, in hopes of driving her point home.

Upon returning to the office, I had shown the potatoes to our receptionist Ruth Ann, and being the natural researcher that I am, I set about learning all I could about the air potato.

Now let me take a moment to explain that Ruth Ann (whom I affectionately called "Ruthie") was about 75 years old, exuded an old-world elegance, and had spunk and a great sense of humor.

So I set about my research and I suddenly exclaimed to Ruthie, "I knew it! The air potato is in the yam family!" I stood in front of Ruthie's counter, from which she would greet guests to our office, and held up a fist-sized potato in my hand. "You know, if I remember correctly, I think that young Native American girls used to use yams for birth control."

Ruthie looked at me with big eyes, and almost fearfully asked, "How did they use them?"

"They made a tea from them, I think." I replied.

"Oh! Thank God!" She slapped the desk with her hand, and put her head down on the desk. "I saw that potato in your hand, and when you said that they used them for birth control, I had this horrible vision in my head! I thought, 'Oh, those poor girls!'", Ruthie exclaimed.


Yeah, let that vision sit in your head for a moment. That was a quintessential Ruthie moment. Another was once when Ruth Ann was talking one day about how she had fallen down in her house a week or two before, after bumping into a table at night. "Let me guess", I asked. "After you fell down, the first thing you did was look around to see who just saw you fall down?" She laughed and said, "Yes!" "Isn't that funny?", I asked. "That happened to me awhile back, too. I tripped stepping over a ferret barrier I had set up in my hallway, and the first thing I did after I hit the floor was self-consciously look around to see who just saw me eat carpet. Even though I live alone!" Ruthie chuckled. "It's true." She nodded. "I did that, too!"

I miss Ruthie. She was a funny lady, and straight forward. I liked that about her. Last I saw her, she was preparing for a trip to Europe.

God help Europe...