Down the street from my house stands John’s Greenhouse, which advertises that there’s not a bloomin’ plant in the place. I pass this structure a couple of times every day. When I first moved to the neighborhood, John ran the place with his wife and daughter. They lived in a squat bungalow to the south of the glass enclosure. I would push my son down the street in a stroller, select a coleus, and walk back to the house where I’d fit the little shoot into a clay pot to my son’s delight.
John and the wife died a long time ago. Now their daughter Roberta owns the building. She must be around my age. She’s losing her eyesight or perhaps has gone totally blind. Decades ago, she started sitting out front in a folding chair when the weather turned mild. For years, I would wave as I passed, receiving her curt nod in response. As her eyesight faded, the response also vanished. I would lift my hand anyway, knowing that to her, I appear as a blur if anything. But I’ve been greeting her for twenty-five years. Old habits defy moderation.
For all I know, Roberta too has died, come to think of it. Died or moved. I have not seen her this year. My schedule varies so much these days. It stands to reason that I might just keep different hours than she. The place looks well-kept. Through the opaque panels, I can see the plants standing tall and lush. But the other day, I saw a peak of color. This shocked me. But the sign! “Not a Bloomin’ Plant in the Place!” John prided himself in carrying only the hardiest of non-flower vegetation.
This morning I had a wild idea and ran a Google search on John’s Greenhouse. Good grief: They have a Facebook page. Surely enough, there in the 21 mobile uploads, I found a whole sheaf of pictures of colorful flowers proudly rising above the verdant ferns.
I don’t know who runs the greenhouse now. But it seems that the times have prompted John’s Greenhouse to change. As I sip my reheated coffee from the same crystal mug that I’ve been using for the last several years, I laugh to myself and wonder, Did they change for change’s sake; or did they see a chance to flourish by opening their doors to the riff-raff with their fragile, temporary splash of beauty?
It’s the twenty-seventh day of the forty-second month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.