2008.06.25 Stop and smell the dead flowers

Written by David Green.

By COLLEEN LEDDY

My brother Kevin who lives in Alaska called tonight to see how plans were proceeding with Rozee’s wedding and to give an update on whether he would be able to attend the wedding in a couple weeks. He not only has a strange infection in his brain, but slipped disks and other deterioration in his back.

I told him it was highly unlikely the downstairs bathroom would be wallpapered before he arrived, but most wedding related stuff was under control.

“Well, you don’t have to worry about getting anything done for us,” he laughed.

Kevin’s homemaking standards are about like mine: none too high; a sight better than our mother’s, but not of major importance in our lives.

Our living conditions growing up were meager at best; while raising five kids by herself in the Bronx on switchboard operator’s wages, my mother’s forays into decorating were slim to none.

Her priority was keeping a dry roof over our heads and food in our bellies; both were daily battles. We had our share of emptying buckets of rainwater that dropped from the living room ceiling of our top floor apartment, and eating mustard sandwiches.

 Kevin and I are both living pretty high on the hog in comparison to our early days, but neither of us requires a well-decorated home for happiness.

The thought of Rozee’s upcoming wedding, however, alternately puts me in a Martha Stewart induced panic to strip every room of its extraneous contents and somehow recreate them into House Beautiful—or, and I favor this reaction more—a chocolate induced state of oblivious harmony.

Besides the uncompleted projects at my house, it’s probably the wedding flowers that account for most of my stress. For a peace and social justice class, Rozee researched and wrote a paper about the flower industry.

Based on what she learned, she knew she didn’t want her wedding flowers to come from some South American country where mostly women are paid low wages for spending long hours in the field while being subjected to dangerous levels of pesticides.

“That’s what happens when you send kids to college,” my brother said when I explained why Rozee wasn’t following the usual route for flower acquisition. “They start to get all these ideas.”

I thought it was a very noble idea and we set upon making it work.  We consulted several flower-knowledgeable friends who figured we could supply enough flowers from our gardens and those of other friends to decorate the tables at the reception hall and the church.

We planned to buy lisianthus flowers if necessary from a highly recommended grower at the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market to make into bridal bouquets and would purchase additional flowers for table arrangements and the church if necessary as a back-up.

There’s been one mishap after another in the flower department. Lisianthus wasn’t widely available and it’s not likely to be in bloom by July 5. Larkspur plants couldn’t be found.

I planted lots of pink and purple flowers, the colors Rozee likes—only I unwittingly bought miniature versions. My dianthus is barely four inches high. My lisianthus plants haven’t reached eight inches. My larkspur seed never grew. My cleome looks like it shrunk in the dryer.

But we knew we had our back-up plan with the Farmer’s Market grower....until she mentioned that she wasn’t going to be in town over the Fourth of July weekend.

And then, Saturday, in the middle of Rozee’s bridal shower, the Great Hail Storm hit.

As the hail pummeled down, I called David from the church when I remembered I had some potted plants we might use for wedding decorations sitting outside on the front steps.

“I’ll get injured if I go out there!” he yelled, but he managed to rescue the most beautiful of the pots.

The hail shredded most of the hostas that line our driveway—hostas that would potentially provide greenery for table bouquets and church arrangements. My delphinium are flat out dead and everything but the hollylocks looks beaten down and depressing.

Rozee just laughs. I follow suit. What else can you do?

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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