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The Joy Luck Plant

I stared at the joy luck plant and pondered, ruminated, and feared my options. I bit my lip. There were several yellowing leaves on the plant. It had grown tall since Emma brought it home from the Tulsa State Fair. She’d given off caring for it so I felt obligated to assume stewardship. You didn’t purchase a joy luck plant on a whim. It was a serious responsibility.


“What are you doing?” Layce asked me.

“We’ve got a major decision to make,” I said, pinching off a yellow leaf.

“And that would be?”

“The spiritual nature and inevitable demise of this plant. We’ve had it every since I came to live with you all. It’s like our family mascot, our floral equivalent of a lucky rabbit’s foot, the Feng Shui of our house. I don’t know how long I can handle the responsibility. What if it dies? What should one do? Will we be cursed?”

“It’s just a plant,” Layce said. “Plants die…” she noticed my distress, “Eventually.”

“Curses can be quite serious. Remember Pele and the black sand? People have brought sand back and had horrible luck. They sent it back once they realized what was causing the bad luck and they profusely apologized to Pele.”
Layce considered this. “We could give it a proper burial when the time comes.”

“I hope you realize this is as serious as getting a chain letter,” I continued.

“What if we get the joy luck plant a friend?”

“We might be able to take this shoot and give it eternal life.”

“That could work,” Layce said.

I noticed she was staring at the plant intently now. “But what if that doesn’t work?” I said, squinting at the plant as if narrowing my eyes might make less of a dilemma.

“I say we get two more bamboos and that’ll make three—your favorite lucky number upon which you manage most of your life.”

I disregarded her statement. I didn’t think three was going to solve anything. “I wonder what other people have done if they killed a joy plant by lack of care?”

“Where are you going?” Layce asked as I picked up the car keys.

“To get twenty-one plants.”


“I looked it up.  21 joy luck plants are like a super charged blessing. It should offset things. And then I’m going to burn some sage and hire a holy man. That should do it.”

Layce sighed. “Do we really want to get into joy luck farming?”

“Yes, if it means keeping our house from being cursed.” I heard heavy sighing and something that sounded like “Ugh” as I exited the house. Maybe I would pick up a lucky rabbit’s foot while I was at it.


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