Rhonda's A 'Muse'-ing Rambles

Life and Times of a Busy Woman

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Dina and the Airplane Plant

Posted by Range Officer Rhonda on April 2, 2008

Airplane PlantThe Spider Plant (aka Airplane Plant) – chlorophytum comosum – has been said to be like a cat in a previous life. Why is that? They have nine lives and when you leave them alone for a while in the dark they fool around and make babies.

Dina’s friend Lea has an amusing tale they once shared with me. Lea is part owner of a commercial nursery and Dina helps her out from time to time when the various seasonal rushes require extra help. In addition, Dina gets referrals from Lea whenever a customer either wants some plants delivered or help in planting them.

Lea had asked Dina to help her load a truck full of potted Airplane plants that were to be delivered to the Burnet airport. They were to be part of the decorations for a welcome booth the Daughters of the American Soldiers were setting up as a shady comfortable rest area for some of the pilots. The truck was to go out the next day but would sit in the parking lot all night.

The next day, Lea waited around for Dina to show up until she couldn’t wait any longer. Getting in the truck alone, she started her journey north, which would take her a little over 30 minutes to reach her destination. A few minutes into the drive, she began hearing strange noises and thought the truck must be having some kind of engine problems. Slowly pulling to the side of the road (something you can do on Texas roads with their wide convenient shoulders), Lea stops. Listening carefully, she doesn’t hear anything, so continues on her way. Shortly after starting up again, the noise begins again, but since the truck was driving well, she decides to finish her journey and prays there is nothing serious going wrong with the truck.

Reaching the airport with no troubles, Lea quickly finds the booth that has been set up for the DOAS and parks alongside. It’s barely past dawn but plenty of people are out and about, mostly working on airplanes that will later be flying in the air show. She gets out of the truck and ducks under the tent flaps to open up the door fly so that it will be easier to haul in the potted plants. Suddenly, the noise she heard while driving starts in earnest – and is coming from the back of the truck! Rushing to the back of the truck, she flings open the door, and out leaps a large cat that rushes past her and into the tent. “What the?” she gasps. Then she starts to giggle as a sudden thought came to her. “Dina, hon, is that you?”

From the tent comes a surly voice, “What took you so long to open up the dang truck? I’ve been yelling (sounded more like yowling to Lea) all morning trying to get you to open that door!”

Now, as luck – mostly bad in this case – would have it, Dina loves airplane plants to a distraction. After they were done working and everyone had left, she went back to the truck and had propped it open with a rock, just wide enough that a small cat could sneak in if she wanted to. Later, she drove back and parked her car behind the barn, then changed to one of her smaller cat forms. This is a bit of a longer process than her normal almost panther sized shape because in transforming to a smaller mass, it takes longer to displace the extra energy. The same goes for the reverse – it’s not a quick transformation like in story tales where they go poof and are done. I’ve heard it’s not pretty either, but neither Lea nor I have ever witnessed this. Dina is pretty private about it and we are thankful.

After transforming, Dina leaped into the back of the truck and started winding her way through the lush, freshly potted plants. Soon, she was patting at the swaying leaves, then jumping and hiding from plant to plant, enjoying the feel of the fresh loam in her toes. She became so heightened in her enjoyment of playing in the plants that she accidentally knocked the rock loose that was keeping the door open. It took quite a while for the adrenaline to wear off from her high frolic, but soon she realized that she was trapped in the truck. The plants had been packed in pretty tight and what was a cozy playground for a small cat became her jail as she couldn’t find room enough to transition back to human form. In cat form she couldn’t open the door. After playing a while longer, she finally crawled under some leaves and decided to sleep on it until someone, hopefully Lea, would open the door to check on the plants before leaving for the airport.

Lea hadn’t cooperated in that respect, and after waiting for the no-show Dina (who was asleep in the back of the truck waiting for Lea), she had just jumped in and driven off. The noise Lea had been hearing was the sudden waking of the slumbering cat, then the yowling of Dina voicing her disapproval of being locked, in cat form, in the back of a moving truck.

The show went well and the DOAS didn’t really notice that some of the airplane plants were slightly tattered from an over exuberant cat. And Lea had a great story to tell about the ‘cat caught in the truck’. Most people never get to hear the full story, but since I know Dina and her shape shifting qualities, I got to laugh at the full story. And every year in April I try to find another small airplane plant to give to Dina for her collection.

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