So over the years my flowers disappeared, but I enjoyed the beauty of my critters grazing the fields around my house. Now on the farm, only the hardiest of flowers and blooming plants remain. The Mimosa I transplanted as a baby from my side yard into my moms yard about 12 years ago. It survived mainly because we kept her yard fenced and mainly livestock free for a couple years...gave the tree a chance to take hold.
The lilies I’ve transplanted from the woods. There’s a very old, crumbled foundation in my woods where a house once stood...probably 1800’s as you can see the old wagon train trail if you look at old, old photos shot from the air. The trail now grown up with old growth trees shade the foundation and a bed of lilies that were probably tended to by the landowner many years ago.
Years ago I dug up some of the lilies and planted clumps along my driveway and along my moms fence. The cows don’t seem to think much of them, perhaps this is why they have survived centuries...they look good but taste bad. So I don’t have anything left from the nursery, but I do have a funny story....One day I was working and an older gentleman stopped by the nursery and headed towards the shrubbery. I went over to see if I could help him find anything. He told me he was looking to add some new bushes to his yard. We chatted awhile and I found out about the sizes he was looking for, if they would be in full sun or not, drainage, did he want something to bloom...all the things I needed to know to help him with his selection. We even visited the rows of roses. All the while, the guys that worked at the nursery started following us from shrubs, to roses, to trees. I wondered what they were up to, but shrugged it off as they were just silly guys.
As the gentleman went in to pay, I carried his selections to his car. The guys at the nursery come over and start asking me if I know who the guy is? I shrug my shoulders and I’m like..Nooo, but I assumed they did with the way they were falling over each other. Ends up, I had been helping baseball Cardinals player Stan The Man Musial select bushes and roses for his home. Not being a baseball person, I didn’t know much, but could tell the guys were all gaga about him being there.
When Mr. Musial came out from paying, the guys scattered away from his car as I stood there waiting to help him load up his new purchases. I guess he had seen the guys drooling by his big long car with the fancy fins....he motioned at the guys to come on over and smiled as he popped his trunk where he had a collection of bats, balls, and gloves. He very kindly pulled out a marker and autographed something for each of us. He asked what I would like and I was truthful, that I didn’t know much about baseball but my brother was a huge fan and I had a young nephew (I think Brandon was maybe 2 at the time)....so Mr. Musial signed a bat to my nephew for me. I got baseball fever then because I knew it would be one of the coolest gifts I could ever give sports lovers like my brother, and I knew he would raise my nephew to be the same.
So even though I don’t have any plants that made it through from the nursery, I still think of the day I met Mr. Musial every spring when the hardiest of my flowers start to bloom.
Years later I met another sports star but the story went a little differently. I was driving for Schwan’s, doing home food delivery. I had a ten day route which covered mostly St. Charles county. I would visit a customers home every two weeks. I quickly learned the bigger the home, the lesser the customer would spend....or you wanted neighborhood routes with big, old trees. Subdivisions with little trees tethered and staked meant the people were house poor. Of course my guidelines are not 100% accurate, but as a Schwan’s driver...it was pretty accurate.
When I was given a route in Castlewood Estates where the homes started at 800 THOUSAND...most people would of thought JACK POT!!! Cha-Ching...hahahaha. I had customers with glass elevators in their home. I had one customer who would buy $15-$30 of food each trip, then the next visit give me a box with one fish filet left in it and tell me it had a bad taste and she wanted a refund. Despite the fact that her house and car cost more than I will make in two lifetimes.
She nearly ran me over twice, and apologized because the souped up, bright red sports car just came off the boat from Italy and she wasn’t familiar with how to drive it. I thought about letting her know the pedal on the left acted like a brake, and the one on the right would make the car move...much like cars made in America....but I bit my tongue as I limped back to my truck.
Another lady would have me come to her home every two weeks in a very well to do neighborhood. She would have me stand just inside the doorway were she would look through the catalog page by page as if she were contemplating a big order. After twenty minutes or however long needed for the neighbors to take notice that the Schwan’s truck was at her place...then she would order one box of Banana Popsicles. While waiting on her to make her selection of Banana Popsicles I started to notice a pattern between those who have, and those who have not. Those who have not...such as this lady...have a humongous house, expensive car, super large tv, a leather couch and not much on the walls, but to the outside world they’ve got it going on. To me, those who have...had modest homes, a vehicle that is more for getting the job done and less for looks, the sofa had a pet of some kind, family pictures on the wall, shoes piled by the door, maybe a couple bikes in the front yard. These customers wouldn’t have me stand just inside the door...they invited me in, offered me a seat and a glass of water while they looked through the catalog, or they would have their list of groceries ready. I had a couple ladies that always sent me with some baked goodies every visit.
One of my customers lived on a house boat...that was pretty cool, and another lived on the river in a house built on stilts. When the river flooded he would leave a boat tied to a tree. I would paddle out to his house and tether the boat to his staircase. We would stand on his deck and I got to watch bald eagles hunt fish while he made out his grocery list. It was the first time I ever saw eagles in the wild...that was pretty cool too.
I rang the doorbell and no sooner does the wife open the door for me, this giant of a man comes barreling towards me screaming about his driveway. I grimaced and ducked as his wife, who was maybe 100 lbs on a good day, steps between us. He continued to yell about his driveway and how he spent hours sealing it, and I better not of messed it up or else. His wife put her hand on his chest and pushed him back while telling him if anything happened to his driveway it was his fault for not putting up cones like she had told him to do. She continued to push him down the hallway and him to go find something else to do. When she came back I think my eyes were still stuck wide open, and my jaw may of been hanging open. She apologized for her husbands behavior and ordered his steaks. She told me it was just fine to walk down the driveway. As I headed out to the truck to get their steaks, I could see my prints were I had come up the drive...at least I had kept to the edge and didn’t walk up the center of his drive.
While at the truck pulling their order all I could think is..Lord have Mercy...please don’t let him come out and see my tracks on his driveway before I leave. I was sweating bullets trying to get out of there as quick as possible. It’s kinda ironic that I left my footprints on this football stars driveway, a lot like a star leaves their prints in the sidewalks of Hollywood. On future visits my nose would automatically scrunch up as I giggled inside...partly out of fear. I always hoped he would not be home. I even entertained the thought of asking him if he would like my autograph to go with my prints, but I figured I better not push my luck.