A Great Spring Ahead - and encouragements from Mr. Bowel Voice.

I concluded my remarks last time by saying I thought the nursery business was getting better, and that I had a specific reason for thinking so. Since that time I had to chance to attend the Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show in Baltimore, and the general mood of most of the folks I talked to there reinforced my opinion. But there has been a potential setback of sorts.

It got cold. And I don’t mean south Mississippi’s normal version of cold, I mean Highway Patrolman’s heart cold. We bottomed out around 15 degrees at the nursery. That’s not the coldest weather I’ve ever seen but it’s pretty unusual to get that cold down here.

Fortunately for us we’ve been buying freeze protection cloth for years and storing it in an old barn here on the nursery, and so were able to cover just about everything that needed it. We are also fortunate that we’ve had a good number of 25 degree mornings to harden everything off. While it’s still a little too early to tell for sure, it looks like we might’ve dodged a bullet in that I’ve seen some tip burn so far. We’ll know a lot more in a week or so, I imagine.

We did have a bit of a hiccup during the covering process last Monday. Two of the guys were in the barn loading up a wagon with some of the freeze cloth that had been rolled up and placed there several years ago, the last time we had a major cold snap. When they got to the bottom of the stack they awoke a sleeping skunk that had made himself at home under the pile. Lucky for them it was groggy and didn’t spray anybody. We made a gallant effort to remove him from the barn but he eluded us on all fronts (we gave him a pretty wide berth, I must confess) and, as far as I know, remains there somewhere. I welcome skunk removal advice you may have to offer.

At any rate, nobody got sprayed, almost everything got covered and it looks like all the plants are going to be ok. We could have done without all the expense, drama and excitement and it would have suited me just fine, but all’s well that ends well.

If you never read any of Lewis Grizzard’s work, you have missed out. He was about as funny as anybody I ever read, and had a knack for coming up with catchy titles for his books. Off the top of my head, I can remember reading “Elvis is Dead and I Don’t Feel So Good Myself”, “Shoot Low Boys, They’re Riding Shetland Ponies” and “Don’t Bend Over In the Garden, Granny, Them Taters Got Eyes”. To say he had an unusual wit would be the understatement of the month. But he hung a name on a common phenomenon and that’s the basis for my belief that things are going to get better.

In one of his books, he wrote so many I can’t remember which, Mr. Grizzard talks about that voice that speaks to each of us from deep within our bowels. Naturally, he called it “Mr. Bowel Voice”. It’s something we all have, although some people simply refer to it as “gut feel”, but I have one too. And right now, my Mr. Bowel Voice is telling me that things are on the upswing. 

I have not kept track over my lifetime of how often Mr. Bowel Voice has lied to me, but it seems to have been a pretty rare occurrence. I will freely admit that I may well be caught up in a classic case of selective memory. It has been said, after all, that convictions are a greater threat to the truth than lies are. I have no doubt whatsoever that that statement is true. But still, I’m convinced things are improving, convinced to the point that I’m gambling on it by increasing our production numbers some this year. 

It’s a roll of the dice, I know, and a pretty large one at that, but fortune favors the bold. And besides, if it all goes to pot, again, I’ll have Mr. Bowel Voice to keep me company in the poorhouse. And maybe a few Lewis Grizzard books too!

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