This Week’s Column: The Ugly Baby Stage

After a morning of hacking away at Johnson grass, I like to head over to my sister’s restaurant, pour myself a glass of tea and plop down at the community table for a leisurely lunch.

Lotsa times, other diners will greet me and inquire after my baby, Groundhog Hill. They want to know how he’s doing, what’s new, etc.

Lately though, a new guy has been coming to lunch around the same time I do, and I am starting to get annoyed.

I can be holding court, having a thoughtful discussion on weed prevention, and then here comes the new guy. All heads turn and attention is paid as if he were the Don Corleone of Hodgenville.

This guy has the nerve to eat his lunch at my table and most days, he uses his hands instead of a fork. Barbarian. Food is strewn all over the floor some days, and my sister just laughs it off.

Like most people, my sister is charmed by this guy’s dazzling eyes and enchanting smile. However, I am not fooled nor am I drawn in by the beauty of his infantile behavior. This guy is an egomaniac. Why am I the only person to see this?

But, back to me and my needs. I have my own baby to worry about.

Week Five finds the garden at Groundhog Hill somewhere in the midst of what I like to call the Ugly Baby stage.

Meaning, not many people other than myself would find it beautiful at this particular juncture.

However, I know with absolute certainty that there’s a beautiful botanical toddler just waiting to happen now that we’ve had some good rain and days of sunshine and mild temperatures. The garden just needs time and perhaps, a team of elves highly trained in weed and grass extraction.

June is off to a wonderful start, and I feel fortunate because in summer’s past, the temps have already been blazing by now.

So, were you to visit GH right now, I’d happily give you a tour which would take about ninety seconds.

The comments during this tour would probably range from “What lovely rows of grass. How ever did you manage to create them?” to “These rows seem to be kind of blank. Is there nothing planted here or is that Johnson grass intentional?”

Patience is indeed a virtue, and I am trying to have patience with my ugly baby of a garden. I am not the only one. The deer seem to be giving the garden a wide berth thus far, and the rabbits are elsewhere (perhaps, in your garden?).

For now, I’ll continue to weed and to hope and to have lunch at Paula’s where I am now not the only baby there, just the biggest.

Your move, P.F. Claycomb (age 10 months). Your move, Sir.

More later from Groundhog Hill.

Contact Steve at or check out his blog at to see more photos of the garden.

About Surfing Hollywood

Steve La Rue is an internationally recognized leader in Film & Television with 20+ years experience as a Development Executive championing such series as Buffy The Vampire Slayer, The X-Files, The Simpsons, King of the Hill, Battlestar Galactica, and Farscape. He writes, blogs, and consults on All Things TransMedia from his home at the beach in Santa Monica, CA, where he balances his life by surfing every damn day.
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1 Response to This Week’s Column: The Ugly Baby Stage

  1. Ben says:

    He who must not be named!

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