Thursday, April 9, 2009
I’ve been MIA. I went missing in Milton, FL. I used MIA just now not really thinking ahead, but strangely enough I found myself in the company of Mr. Henry, a Veteran of the Battle of the Bulge. It now seems an inappropriate reference. Let me begin again.
Hi! Miss me? Sorry I’ve been away so long. Dawn and I were busy bees getting ready for our first festival of the year. We make wind chimes, sun catchers, garden stones, and other “Garden Oddities” to show at the local festivals. (You can check them out by clicking on the link over there that says, “Another Semi-Legitimate Gig.”)
My next tent neighbors at the Emerald Coast Flower and Garden Show were Mr. and Mrs. Henry Suddeth. He is 89 and she doesn’t seem far behind. They were showing and selling (a lot!) Bag o’ Gold which I soon became quite familiar with. Mr. Henry didn’t let a soul walk by without chanting, “Got somethin’ goooooood for your plants. Organic.” If his intended target happened to keep walking he added, “Good for your house plants, garden, or flowers. Money back guarantee!” Nobody could resist him. He was so damn cute, not to mention that if you are one to attend a Flower and Garden Show, then you probably are in the market for some plant food anyway.
(I’m at the Barnes and Noble right now. Dawn released me for some much needed decompression. I’m in the Starbucks Café Area. Just a few tables away is a mother and her boy child, about 4 years old. She is all done up - perfectly coifed and painted, silk tank top, designer jeans, heels. I instantly hate her. Just when I thought I was going to be able to deflect her negative energy, she pulled out water colors. I’m not shitting you. This is happening right now. She has set up 4 little cups of water for this kid and is reminding him every 30 seconds or so not to spill because “we’ll get in trouble.” Oh, my God! Now she’s singing happy birthday to someone on her cell phone, complete with the “and many more!” I am never going to be bored in this life.)
By the end of Friday afternoon, he had made $350. I had made $25 off of a person he had flagged down. I was OK. My pride was firmly intact.
On Saturday morning, though I got a little testy. He had moved his set-up right on top of me. And he started talking to people who were in my tent looking at my stuff. And he was handing out little cards about God. I was feeling the sizzle.
By 10:30 I had broken even, so I sat back and enjoyed the weather and the repetitive conversation about recycled goods and how creative and clever I am. (I’m not even lying this time.) Saturday turned into a boom day. I was selling stuff left and right. (One of my creations that our own Jude named “Kiddo” even sold to a big dyke, complete with jean shorts and a belt!) The Suddeths, of course, turned in record sales.
After staying up late to make new things to fill the tent back up, I was disappointed to see some menacing clouds on Sunday morning. The church crowd rolled in just as the first sprinkles started to fall. I was doing some minor rearranging when I heard Mr. Henry say to his wife, “We’re almost sold out. Only 18 lbs. left.” I nearly panicked. I had to get some of this stuff. I would just be damned if I was going to sit there all weekend and listen to his mantra and watch him eat the stuff for effect and not go home with some of it. I deserve bigger blossoms! I need a triple producer tomato plant! I live for No Mix No Mess!
Mrs. Suddeth was nice enough to trade me some of their goodness for one of my hanging vases made from an old glass baby bottle “to celebrate my new great-grandson!” she said.
I found out from the festival director that that was the Suddeths last festival. They are selling their secret formula. I’m quite sure that this stuff works, but it won’t be nearly as memorable coming from anyone else. Will the new guy bark at every passerby? Will he use old coffee cans for packaging? Will he give free samples to the “Doubting Thomases?” Will he cart around the countless boards full of blue ribbons? Will he proudly display their posters of faded Before and After pictures?
Sadly, I suspect that all of you will soon be able to buy Bag o’ Gold at your local Wal-Mart or Lowe’s. If you happen upon some, please think of Mr. Suddeth who has something gooooood for your plants. Organic.