Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Blue Bottle Tree

It's a "blue bottle tree". It's my blue bottle tree. I've been seeking images of bona fide blue bottle trees to go with a mystery story I've been working on. It has been so far impossible to find the "right" tree image. I may have to resort to having someone paint one from my memory.

You say, "what's wrong with your own blue bottle tree?" "What makes a 'bona fide' blue bottle tree?"

Good questions, those, and the same ones I've been trying to explain to my partner, Cat Dancing.
It's all a matter of attitude, and of course, my memory. The trees I remember from my youth are fairly different. And, since my story is set pretty much in that background, then it becomes important.

What are the elements of a "true" blue bottle tree? 
Bare soil, a bushy but dead fig tree, and lots of Milk of Magnesia bottles. Actually any blue bottles that were available. 
No, I said no, wine bottles. 
See the above picture. Almost all wine and mead bottles. 

I did risk three of my precious antique Milk of Magnesia bottles for the picture. 

At the time and place of my youth, most of the old timers took Milk of Magnesia and other OTC preparations. Cat says it's a statement of bad diet, and I suppose it is. That's a whole other subject. 
Hardly anyone would display a wine bottle in the yard. It just wasn't done.
We were in a dry county, to start with, and deeeeeeeeeep in the bible belt.

Few of the average people had grass in the yard, other than scraggly patches of bermuda grass or johnson grass. Enough people were worried about snakes, anyway, that they preferred bare dirt.

And, dead fig trees were common.

I was able to find one picture online of a Milk of Magnesia blue bottle tree. Getting closer!

True, a blue bottle tree is a blue bottle tree. But for the scene I'm setting, and the space I'm invoking, it needs to be right.

I suspect that all the original M.O.M. bottles were scavenged from the existing trees back in the '80's and sold to antique shops. That's why they are so rare today. 

One way or another I'll get that picture!

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