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             Little did I know when Mary and Ivan Potter showed up at my garden center recently that it would lead to one of my life-long ambitions, that is, writing.  After interviewing me and getting the scoop on my family-owned business, Beans to Blossoms, they asked me if I would be interested in writing a few articles for their online publication, West Kentucky Journal.  Of course, I said yes as writing is something I have always wanted to do but never really had a chance to pursue on a serious basis.

            Even though I am sure they intended for me to write articles on gardening, which I still intend on doing, I wanted to write my first article on how I came around to being interested in gardening and nature in the first place, which led to the beginning of my business.  I think gardening and farming are two activities that have to be in a person’s blood in order for them to pursue them at all.  To me, there is nothing more rewarding than reaping the fruits of your effort from something you planted in the ground from a seed or plant.  I have to give credit to my Daddy for passing down to me his “green thumb”.  For that reason, I feel my very first submitted literary work has to be written about and dedicated to him.  You see, my Daddy just passed away on September 1st after living 93 very interesting and fruitful years.

Dad on his patio            As a young man he received a degree in forestry from the University of Michigan.  He carried out his love for the outdoors and nature in all the recreational activities he planned for my 4 sisters and me. Camping in Missouri, hot dog roasts on the banks of a local creek, fishing oxbow lakes off the mighty Mississippi, watching the formation of rainstorms and collecting moth cocoons and watching them hatch into beautiful moths and butterflies.  These are just a small sampling of the fun things he did with us and for us as we were growing up.  He was always bringing some kind of “creature” home in a box for us to look at and ask a million questions about, which he always had the answer to.  One day it might be a huge hissing snapping turtle, then a pair of baby ducks from the local co-op, tadpoles in a jar, and baby bunnies that he built a cage for in our back yard. 

            Looking back, I now realize my love of flowers and nature has to have come from him.  One of his favorite ways to relax after work was to light up one of this Swisher Sweet cigars and head to the back yard and weed his flower beds or rake and burn leaves.  Like him, minus the stogie, one of the most relaxing activities I can think of is raking leaves in the fall. I credit him for being able to identify flowers, clouds and insects of all kinds, which are helpful in my occupation.  My love of fishing I know came from his patient lessons in the front yard teaching me how to cast a spinning reel.  Daddy didn’t get a boy to take on his fishing trips but ended up with me instead.  A tomboy who worshiped him so much that when I was a little girl I remember telling people I was going to marry him when I grew up.

            Not only did I inherit his love of the outdoors, but also my own children and grandchildren are following in his footsteps.  My daughter, Lindy, who is my business partner, was interested in all things in nature from the time she was a little girl.  She was the child who was always outside at my side when I was sowing seeds in the garden, cutting flowers or harvesting vegetables.  From birds to butterflies she took an interest in it all.  It was no surprise to me that she decided to pursue a degree in horticulture when she went away to college.  Now that she has children of her own, it is a joy to see their wide-eyed wonder when a black swallowtail butterfly lights on our zinnias right in front of their noses. 

            At his recent memorial service, it was so appropriate that we had each of his 14 great-grandchildren release a Monarch butterfly in his honor.  Days after his death we were going through his personal possessions and found a butterfly identification book that he had when he was a little boy.   We realized there was nothing else we could have done that would have better reflected the way he lived his life.  You see, he told me a few weeks before he died that he had no regrets.  If we could all live our lives that way, what a better world this would be.  I think the lesson to be learned here is that you never know if you are going to have a few years or 93 to be here on earth with your loved ones.  You should live each day as if that might be your last.

            Now that I have all that off my chest I am ready to write some real articles about gardening.  Stay posted for my next subject, one that I am also just getting interested in, that is fruit trees.  More and more people want to start their own home orchards so I will try and help them sort out all the info in my next article.  Thanks for listening, Suzanne from Beans to Blossoms  



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