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The only thing that grows faster than a pussy willow bush is Jack’s bean stalk.

We didn’t know that of course when our son and daughter-in-law gave us a cutting. It was only a twig about 2 feet tall. I soaked it for a few days until roots had started, then planted it in a corner of the yard that had been left bare to allow easier access to a sprinkler box.

Three years later and this summer we trimmed it at least three times, taking off three to four feet each time. It had taken over the corner of the yard, covered the sprinkler box and shaded other shrubs like a tree. It droops over the fence and in general, behaves like a narcissistic general.  

My DH wants to remove it—yesterday.

However, we didn’t have many furry catkins this spring and I have begged him to give me one more year.

I keep remembering one spring morning walking to school with a friend. We had gone down some alleys we didn’t usually take and passed by a Pussy Willow hanging over a backyard fence. I had never seen one before and was enchanted by the myriad fur balls growing on stems. We broke off a couple of hanging branches to take to our teacher—something I used to feel guilty about until I realized this last year how prolific they are.

DH has conceded—one more spring,” then the over-grown weed has to go.” I just smile, contented to have one more season of furry blossoms, though part of me is sad that we don’t have room for it to grow to full glory. That would be a sight to see! But even Jack had to cut down his bean stalk eventually.

Then Friday night we received the first snow fall of winter and it didn’t come by halves. Because of the warm fall, many of our bushes and trees still had their leaves on them. The weight of the wet snow had branches drooping and bushes splitting. While I shoveled, my DH went to work clearing limbs from the weight of the snow. One of the worse victims was my (since he doesn’t claim it) pussy willow.

I didn’t dare say anything. But, my DH is a true hero. He said I could have one more spring and he was going to make sure I did. After clearing most of the yard, when his arms were aching, he tramped over through deep snow to remove the snow from the bent limbs of his nemesis. Now that’s love.

The Chinese like the Pussy Willow and its cousins. The fluffy white blossoms of the pussy willow give way to young shoots the color of green jade. For them, signs of growth represent prosperity.  Maybe we should all plant one. I can give you cuttings next year.

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