I bought seven pale yellow primroses in four-inch pots, to plant on the path to the Johnny.
It was a triumph -- Andy and I moved it yesterday from in back of the barn. It had been sitting there for at least four years. "It was here when we bought the place," Andy said. And the Johnny has been used by itinerant workers who stayed in the bunkhouse. It was cleaned and emptied regularly by a company in Ventura, and that cost $50. A large tanker truck drove into the yard and a cheerful fellow hooked up a long hose and drained the Johnny -- that hardly took five minutes and he was gone to the next place.
All for the better sanitation of these lovely acres by the Ventura River. But it was too far from the bunkhouse to the barn. Our loyal and efficient workers deserved a sweeter moonlit path, should the need arise in the wee hours.
So we figured to move it in back of the bunkhouse, where you couldn't see it, but it was much closer.
Yesterday, we hitched the Johnny to the tractor with a rope and dragged it over. We had to manhandle it into position for the last twenty feet. That took some sweat and strain, but we were close to the finish and almost inspired at that point.
Andy and I were quite proud of getting it done with such dispatch. There it was, the Johnny in a better place. I wiped it down for cobwebs, and I thought we might burn sage to honor the Johnny's new home.
But it was at dinner that evening when I realized the proper and living benediction would be a primrose path. Not a metaphor, heck no. But real pale-yellow primroses glistening in the moonlight on a path from the bunk house door, around the side and then to the back to the Johnny.
So I drove to Wal-Mart on Saturday morning to buy the flowers. It was crowded when I got into the parking lot, I was listening to FM radio -- Live at the Metropolitan Opera from New York. The third act of Rigoletto was just beginning.
I heard the famous aria, La Donna E Mobile as I parked my car. What a thrilling song. The woman is fickle, the tenor cries. She tears your heart and fills your life with beauty but you can never trust her.
How true! But if we die of love, is there a better fate? Yes, leading me down the primrose path with pale yellow flowers.
Well, I guess I'm getting my metaphors mixed up, but it all seems to matter -- the bunkhouse and the loyal crew, the flowers that grace our lives, the determined teamwork between Andy and myself, and the fabulous music that beams across the continent on electronic waves -- live from New York City, connecting us to the wider world.
Serious Work. We actually do some serious horticultural work here at Love House Dahlias. We're not a big player in Ventura County which had more than $1.5 billion in farm sales last year, but we are a part of it, and we are generating real farm dollars. There's a future in this kind of work. I get pretty excited on many days because there is so much to do around here and so much to learn.
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