Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

One Man's Path to Blossoming at Middle Age

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

One Man's Path to Blossoming at Middle Age

Article excerpt

IN AN EFFORT to gracefully slide into middle age, I planted flowers last fall.

Let other members of my generation wage a silly battle against aging, I thought to myself. Let them ride bikes and go roller blading and do all the other strenuous activities that are supposed to keep you looking and feeling young. Me, I'll become a gardener.

So I went to the Botanical Garden and selected a bunch of bulbs - tulips, daffodils, irises, stuff like that.

"How much do I owe you, Miss?" I asked the young woman at the register.

That's something else I've been doing. I no longer call waitresses and cashiers "Ma'am." I call them "Miss." It seems like a nice "old-guy" way to address women.

At any rate, I bought the bulbs, and planted them on the side of the house.

It felt great. There I was, digging away next to my house, doing something mature, while neighbors - no younger than me! - jogged past.

Because they are unaccustomed to seeing me working in the yard, sometimes they'd stop.

"What are you doing?" they'd ask.

"What a middle-aged person should do," I'd say snidely. "I'm planting flowers."

That afternoon of work was rewarded last month. My flowers bloomed. They looked really good - for a couple of weeks. And then they died!

Apparently, this is common. At least, that's what a young woman at the Botanical Garden told me when I demanded my money back. Flowers bloom, and then they die.

It makes you wonder what our scientists are doing.

They're always fiddling with nature. They've souped up cows so the cows will produce more milk. They've done something with tomatoes.

Sometimes the scientists do ridiculous things.

Consider, for instance, the ornamental orange tree. It looks like an orange tree. It even produces things that look like oranges. But you can't eat them. They taste terrible.

I've always wondered who came up with the idea. How did he explain it to his bosses.

"Chief, I've got an idea. I think I can produce an orange tree that will grow oranges that are inedible. …

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