As long as he doesn’t ask you anything back!
By Gary Carter. Art by Russell Thornton
Being the only fairly knowledgeable nurseryman in our small Oregon town does have its minuses. Take a social gathering I was invited to a while back. I ran into my family physician:
“Hello, Gary, how are you?”
“Just fine, Doc. How’s yourself?”
“Doing OK. I have a question. That hailstorm we had a while back, it knocked most of the flowers off my apple, pear, and plum trees. Should I go ahead and prune them back?”
“Well, you can, but if you do that now, you could destroy any flowers left that are trying to form.” I went on and explained the best times to prune, etc. Then I had a question.
“While I’ve got you, Doc, I’ve got this red lump on my leg, and I was wondering—”
“Make an appointment and I’ll take a look at it,” my doctor said. He smiled, nodded his head, and walked away.
Later I ran into my dentist.
“Hi, Gary. Good to see you. How are things?”
“OK. Thanks for asking.”
“I have a question.”
“The leaves on my cauliflower, chard, and some of my wife’s other vegetables have holes in them. What would cause that?”
“Without seeing the plants I’d have to say probably snails or slugs. Maybe both.”
“Can you come over and take a look this week, talk to Sandy?”
“Well, I . . .”
“We bought the plants from you.”
“Well, OK. Listen, a couple of my back teeth have been hurting and I was wondering if—”
“Make an appointment and I’ll take a look,” my dentist said. He smiled, nodded and walked away. “See you later!”
Later on that week, after checking out the dentist’s garden, I ran into my lawyer, Ms. Marple, at the local grocery store.
“Well, hello, Gary!” she exclaimed, walking over and giving me a quick hug. “How have you been? Long time no see!”
“I’m OK. How’s the law business?” I asked as she let go.
“Good! Listen, while I’ve got you, something’s eating the plants in my vegetable garden. Chewed my darn lettuce and other crops right down to the ground. What could cause that?”
“Well, there are a number of things. It could be deer, or rabbits, or . . .” I went on for several minutes.
“Listen, have you got a minute?” I asked after I had finished my spiel. “My daughter and her husband are talking about getting a divorce and, well, I was wondering . . .”
“Oh, hey, we’re open nine to five. Sorry, but I’m in a hurry.” She smiled, gave me another hug, and hurried away.
Well, what can a nursery guy do? Set up an office and charge people to ask questions? Would anyone come? Probably not, because anyone can grow plants, to hear people tell about it.
But, hey, if that’s true, why do they keep asking me?