I bought a pot.


Actually, twenty five years ago, I bought two and they were way out of my price range.


We had just moved to Nashville from Texas and bought a spanking new red brick two story down in Franklin, a quaint Southern town with a charming main street, dotted with its own movie theater, yummy ladies' lunch spots and a couple greasy diners including Dotson's. We left a bushel of friends, another new two-story brick with a built in pool surrounded by houses filled with relocated moms and dads and 2.5 kids.


We moved to Tennessee for Richard's work. No one was happy about yanking up our, albeit, shallow roots but I couldn't pay the bills. I was a freelance writer for a weekly that paid enough each week for me to swing through drive-thru after soccer practice and feed the kids.


Our new house sat on a sloped bare lot with two nasty scrub trees on a new street with no sidewalks. There was no plus sod, just seed with straw scattered on top.


"Make sure to move your hose and sprinkler around so you don't wash the seed away," Joe the builder instructed. This house was not my first choice, nor second or third. Honestly, I hated the house but as the mom, with my little chicks staring up at me, watching my cues for how to feel, I lied and announced, "This is going to be an adventure!"


And then I got to work transforming this stark newbie into our shelter. By then, I was writing for The Tennessean about homes and design and through my research, I found artisans and dirt diggers and painters and decorators.


My list of future projects was long, so long I kept four lists so Richard didn't get overwhelmed. First change was the front door landing. I hired this carpenter Randy Bloom, a bit too chatty, but he built a small porch with a simple black standing seam metal roof and square white columns. I also hired an iron smith to craft new rails where the top rail twisted around the posts at the base of the stairs. I spent too much on new iron coach lights and then I went hunting for pots.


"We need two," I explained to Richard. "OK, go to Home Depot and pick up some pots and plants. How much do you think it will all cost? And then, is that it for a while?"


For months, I searched for the perfect pots, not too tall or wide or skinny. One day, while on assignment, I pulled off Route 40 out near the Nashville airport. Across this busy intersection with 18-wheelers whipping by, I spied a little yellow clapboard house. It couldn't have been more than 800-square feet inside. The window trim was a faded dark brown, the window bars black and the gray shingles were flat (I hate flat shingles).


A chain link fence wrapped the small city lot's perimeter. The driveway gate, with its thick chain and lock strung at the end was propped open. Instead of grass, shrubs and a driveway, it was filled with concrete pots and birdbaths, troughs and statues of turtles, rabbits, even little wishing wells.


In the middle of this jungle were my two pots. I paid $62 for each one, no, $50 because I ran to the nearby bank and got cash. I knew they would be perfect for my new front porch.


"I want these two. Can you put them in my car?" I called to this old Hispanic man wearing a dirty ribbed wife-beater and baggy dress pants held up by a belt meant for someone 40 lbs heavier. In Spanish, he yelled to his helper, a scrappy pimply teenager with jet black hair and forearms the size of my wrists, to load up my pots. I buckled each one as if I was bringing home twin newborns.


Back home, Richard helped carry them to the front porch where I filled them with 5-foot topiary trees (that cost as much as the pots). A few years later, we sold that house and although the new buyer asked to buy the pots, I graciously refused and directed her to the yellow house in Nashville. When we sold the next house, again the buyer asked to buy my pots. I couldn't do it. We moved into the city and brought my pots. You guessed it, when we sold that little bungalow, the new owner begged to buy the pots. I explained I just couldn't part with them.


In 2012, the pots, wrapped in thick quilted blankets, moved with us to Vermont when we bought this inn. To me, they were more important to take than the formal dining room set (I don't miss that).


Every Spring, I plant the pots with shrubs and small trees that get added to the landscape at the end of Fall when the pots get stored in the wood shed.


Maybe because we're in a worldwide Pandemic this year, I notice and appreciate my pots. Until just now, I never realized what attracted me to them. Besides the size, it was the lemon relief that wraps each pot. It made me happy. Shortly before moving to Tennessee, we had traveled to Italy and I brought back this small lemon painting that I still love for its simplicity. It's the same with the pots. Most things don't need a lot to be beautiful.

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