Pat’s Acceptance Speech

ILLUSTRATION BY MATT COLLINS

Two minutes? I got two minutes? I can’t say all the radical, controversial stuff I want to say in two minutes. So you’ll have to go to greenprints.com/fellow to read all that.* But, hey hey, I can say this:

Thank you, Phyllis, for nominating me. Thank you, Betty, Bill, Bob, C. L., David, Jeff, Randy, Sally for writing letters of support. Most of all, thank everyone in GardenComm. Without this organization, my crazy, impractical, mom-and-pop magazine would not exist. Honest. There’s Renee Shepherd, who 28 years ago said, “Why don’t you make flyers for your magazine and I’ll stick them in all of my 100,000 seed orders—for free.” There was famed “Victory Garden” TV host Jim Wilson, who three years in wrote a review of my speaking that concluded: “Pat Stone is a hoot. Put his energy and charisma together with my good looks, and I would be unbeatable!“ Jim had never heard me speak! There was Liz Ball, who, my first year at the conference, consoled me about my angry teenage son: “Your children stop talking to you when they turn 13 and start talking to you again when they turn 17-1/2.”

That’s just the beginning. To every one of you who has put me on your radio show or in your column, written for—or advertised in—the magazine, given me your friendship-–to all of you, my deepest gratitude.

A few weeks ago, I received a letter from a subscriber written on the tenth anniversary of her son’s death. She had been crying all night and was still crying the next morning when—on just that day—her new issue of GREENPRINTS arrived. She read it and stopped crying, because it reminded her that there was still good and beauty in the world. That’s what GREENPRINTS does. That’s what gardening does. That’s what you do. Each of you helps create good and beauty in a world that sorely needs it.

So keep it up, brothers and sisters of the garden. Right on! No, Write on! No, no, Comm on! No, no, no [sung to the tune of “YMCA”—with appropriate arm movements], C-O-M-M on!

* (Or You Can Read It Right Here)

Welcome! Thank you for checking this—the unspoken part of my conference Fellow speech—out.

Here, rather than talk about you, the mag, or even me, I want to talk about all of us. There’s a quote in the current issue:

“We might think we are nurturing our garden, but of course it’s our garden that is really nurturing us.”

Gardening is a positive, beautiful act that makes us hap-pier and the world a little bit better. Good for us!

Now I want to make a suggestion to maybe make the world a little bit better better. I want us all, beginning in our thoughts—and beginning with me!—to stop looking down at the people on the opposite political pole. Stop mocking, belittling, acting self-righteous towards, and, especially, getting angry at those people we disagree with. It doesn’t matter which way you lean: each side does it just as much as the other (and thinks the other side does it more). And our media—on both sides—feeds us political anger nonstop. It’s become mental junk food: addictive and so very bad for you.

Resist! Resist the temptation to eat the poison pill of hate and expect the other person to die. If we want the other side to stop acting so hateful, the very first thing we have to do—of course—is to stop acting hateful ourselves.

As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “I have decided to stick to love…Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

Fellow gardeners, we love plants. We love gardens. Amen. Weed on, Brothers and Sisters! Now let’s all resolve to, starting in our hearts, love and garden each other—whether we agree with them or not.

(P.S. By the way, in case you’re wondering where I got this idea, it’s from the same source Rev. King got his—The Bible.)


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