How to Grow a Four O'Clock Seed

This is a true story... One you won’t easily forget.

There is a type of flower called a “four O’clock” - they open up at 4.  I remember them as mostly yellow-Orange and pink and not very interesting.  In fact, I think they look cooler when they are closed as they resemble trumpets.  I describe them simply as flimsy pentagons.  Why my mother would plant these all around the house is beyond me.  Never-the-less we had lots and lots of them. 

What I like about these flowers are their seeds.  They had huge seeds that were more interesting than the flower, in my opinion.  They look like black hand grenades.  Here... See! 

It was a solid seed.  No skateboard, roller skate, or car ever cracked open a 4 o'clock seed.  Basically, they are indestructible. 

My sister Lisa and I are a lot alike.  We were abnormally mischievous children. 

That being said, it was probably a bad idea to leave Lisa and me outside in the garden alone at four o'clock.  That was also when the seeds fell out of the flimsy flowers.

But nothing happened that day... Or the next day.  Or the next day after that. Still, Lisa was about a week away from becoming a legend in our town... Or at least in my mind.

Then it happened.  Lisa couldn't breathe.  Fast forward to the pediatrician's claustrophobic emergency room.  I remember it as a small place with totally insane mind-bending animal theme wallpaper, a gross smell which according to my mother was the smell of clean, a really tall cushioned bench upholstered with the same look and feel as a booth bench of a 1970's diner, but covered with a roll of crunchy white paper.  And one last detail... The glass jar filled with wooden popsicle sticks in the far corner.   I always wanted to steal one of those sticks.  But I would always hesitate.

30 minutes later and the doctor enters.  Annoyed, I could have built a popsicle stick replica of the Great Wall of China by then.  But soon to be entertained. 

The doctor used one tool to look up Lisa's noses... That funnel, with a light, and a magnifying glass all-in-one tool that worked in the ear or the nose...  Anyhow, a few minutes later, my mom and I watched the doctor remove two 4 O’Clock seeds from Lisa's nose - fully germinated... roots and all!

So there you have it.  That is how you grow a four O'clock seed. 

Add that to your Zen teachings.

- Thomas Edward Hoppe

Thomas Hoppe