2008.06.25 Stop and smell the dead flowers

Written by David Green.


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.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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