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Ivy Combat
by Brenda Kern 
12/12/05
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Up the ladder we go...

Carefully. So-o-o-o carefully.

"How did I let myself get roped into this?" she said to no one in particular, immediately followed by, "Roped! Ha, ha!"

Layers upon layers of stubborn ivy blanketed the old structure, and she had been absent when the clean-up tasks were assigned, lucky her. Thus, here she was: afraid of heights but up on a ladder; clumsy, but, as previously stated, up on a ladder; with pollen allergies but assigned to an outdoor, let's-deal-with-greenery job.

Early in the morning on a Saturday, to cap it all off!

Her attitude was less than 'beautifully Christian' as she stepped up, rung by rung, precariously balancing the tools she'd need as she climbed.

Shortly, she figured she should just start at the ground level and pull, so down she went.

Pull turned into heave, and heave turned into war.

As was her custom, she spoke threateningly to her obstacle, her rival, her enemy in the completion of the chore: "I'm tougher than you, I'm stronger than you, and I'm going to win this one."

The ivy remained unimpressed and thriving.

Two sweaty, scratchy, itchy, and sneezy hours went by, and a small area the size of a door was cleared.

The remaining surface of the wall was as green as ever.

The battle raged on, and the clearing grew to a section comparable to a bath/shower stall.

She took a lunch break, shed some tears, and bought a Weed Whacker.

She approached her foe once again in the early afternoon with a gleam of triumph in her eyes and an evil cackle rising. "I've got you now--you just wait!"

The no-plant zone grew wider and higher, but she made the unfortunate discovery that a ladder and a Weed Whacker should NEVER be combined when doing yard work.

After the trip to the drug store and the application of the bandages, she worked until the light dimmed, and vowed to return the following Saturday to finish off the evil greenness, then stand victorious before an ivy-free wall.

The following Saturday morning didn't start well. There, in the hard-fought brick-red areas, she saw new growth of the insidious vines--verdant streaks reaching, climbing, twisting, grabbing hold. Her scream brought other workers running, but she smiled sheepishly and explained that she was only 'venting'--no emergency here.

She sat and thought first this time--another tried-and-true method of tackling adversity. Her mumbled line of reasoning went like this: "I'm doing this the dumb way, obviously. How else could I have accomplished this?

"Do they have plant-zapping lasers?

"Should I have poured acid on it from above, let it sit overnight, then use a squeegee to get it off?

"How do you kill a plant, anyway?"

And she smiled.

Once again armed with the Weed Whacker, she made a couple of quick flicks of the wrist, and her work was done for the day.

The following week, she returned and easily pulled the dead and drying carpet of ivy from the building, filling bag after bag with crunchy yellow-brown plant matter.

After the clean-up, she smacked her hands together in the 'all-done-with-this' gesture and surveyed her handiwork. "Yep, just separate the branches from the vine and they'll die."

As she walked off into the sunset, she waved, victorious, to the imagined crowd of spectators. "HA! I WIN!"

"Wa-CHOOO!"

********


I am the true vine... Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. John 15:1a and 4-6, NIV


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