Let Me Have My Fury

Getting hot over a pepper.

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ILLUSTRATIONS BY TIM FOLEY

I live on a small property in a small town in Indiana, so I don’t have space to garden as I’d really like. If I could, I’d grow so much I could have a produce stand. As it is, I utilize small plots, a few straw bales, and a zeal that exceeds my allotted square feet.

I like to grow unusual things. Exotic things. Two years ago, I had seedling pots strewn about the house. I knew I was over my capacity before I’d put the first plants into the ground. Still, I had discovered an exotic I just had to try. It was a Habanada pepper, described as having the fruity floral flavor of Habanero without the heat. My wife doesn’t like spicy things and I thought this could be a best-of-both-worlds scenario.

Problem: I was out of places to put plants. Completely out. So I asked my wife, Joan, to let me plant the Habanada plant in her front-yard flower garden. This had always been an off-limits area, but she reluctantly conceded with a “Just this once.”

And, oh, how the plant grew. Full, bushy, lush green, and filled with tiny white blossoms. My eagerness to see little fruits appear on the plant was teetering on euphoria.

Joan and I have an agreement about yard work. She pulls the weeds, I follow later and clean up the debris. One day late in the season, she went out to do her lopping, topping, plucking, and various other -ings. After an hour, she came into the house and playfully announced, “Time for clean up on Aisle One.”

“My Habanada pepper plant! How could you have pulled my pepper plant?”

Out I went—and saw that my wife had plucked my Habanada pepper plant from the ground—it was wilting in the debris pile!

I stormed into the house and yelled, “You pulled my pepper plant!”

“What are you talking about?”

“My Habanada pepper plant! You know, the one with all the little white flowers! How could you have pulled my pepper plant?”

“It was an accident.”

“You know how hard I worked to get that plant to grow!”

“I told you not to plant things in my front garden. How was I supposed to remember that plant was there!?”

“It was the only plant of mine that was there!!!”

“Why are you so angry? OK, I made a mistake, but your reaction is a little over the top.”

It was at this point that I uttered one of the most remembered and now-laughed-at lines in our 16-year marriage:

“Let me have my fury!”

Dear Reader, she, she—she laughed at me. That, of course, made me all the more furious. I didn’t speak to her for several hours.

I made an attempt to replant the poor little thing, but it didn’t survive. I’m going try to grow a Habanada again this year. But not in the front garden—oh, no. In addition, I’ll wrap barbed wire around it to protect it from my partner.

And I still say a woman needs to let a man Habanada—I mean, have—his fury.

Right? Dear?

This article was published originally in 2020, in GreenPrints Issue #122.


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