Country Scribe : Eric Bergeson's Weblog

May 26, 2006

Liriano vs. Hernandez

Twins fans make sure to tune in tonight to see two of the best young pitchers in baseball duke it out in the Metrodome. I am looking forward to a pitching duel. Both Francisco Liriano of the Twins and Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners are just over twenty years of age and can throw hard.

NURSERY BUSINESS continues to be strong and all-consuming. I haven't much imagination for anything else. The character of the customers changes so drastically late in the season. Most of the self-sufficient go-getters are done buying. Now, we spend a greater part of our day helping the helpless.

"I need something to put in a pot. What would you recommend?" Well, there are about 45 options, each equally valid.

Next question: "Does it need a lot of water?" Well, all plants need water when they are dry. This question signals trouble from the beginning.

And then this phone call this morning: "Do you have something really, really cheap that will look pretty on a grave?"

And another: "You know me, I am the one who comes and buys all those begonias." Oh, you!

And, "I am the peat lady!" She buys five bags per year and is convinced that we think she's crazy for doing so. If I tell her that we sold 15 bags to the car ahead of her, it bounces right off. There is no interfering with her identity as the crazy peat lady who buys five bags per year.

Three phone calls today asking for advice on trees purchased elsewhere. Why do you suppose it died? The temptation to say, "because you didn't buy it at a reputable nursery" is almost irresistible.

Overall, however, business is fun, particularly when you are selling things which make people happy.

May 24, 2006


Here is everybody we could gather for a picture today of the nursery crew. A finer bunch you'll never find. It was Nick's day off, Aaron works only weekends, Donna was too far away, Ken Helm was off today, and none of the five high school kids were there--but this was the most we could get in one place at one time.

Today, Leo was visited by a Brazilian high school exchange student who lives 11 miles south of here and goes to school in Mahnomen. Cesario is from Belo Horizonte, capital of the same state in Brazil where Leo is from, Minas Gerias. Cesario spent some time playing guitar in the schoolhouse.

The rest of the story

Aunt Olla responds to my account of the incident last week at the Pizza Hut in Moorhead where she was asked for identification while trying to buy beer:
When we were in the Flom Cafe, I told Sybil we should go to the Pizza Hut in Moorhead to have pizza. She agreed and added that she had heard beer was very good with pizza and would try it. "I'll try it, too," I said. I had never ordered any beer before in my life. I always had root beer with pizza.

Sybil changed her mind at the Pizza Hut and ordered root beer because she was driving. I ordered beer. Then the waitress asked to see my identification. I thought she was kidding and said, "why would anybody ask a 94-year-old lady for ID?" I refused to do it and then she said there's a new law that everyone no matter what age has to produce an ID.

So, I reluctantly dug in my purse and showed her my ID. By then Sybil and I were in stitches. We had quite a memorable day.

And now you know the rest of the story.

Olla also emphasized that she only drank 1/3 of the beer, and that she only drinks 1/3 of the glass of wine when she orders that.

I promised to post this defense of her actions in the weblog, although I assured Olla that this late attempt to rescue what remains of her reputation is probably futile.

May 23, 2006

Phone naps

The nursery is crazy busy, and there is work to do outside. But my main job is to answer the phone. If the phone rings and nobody is there to answer the question, it throws a monkey wrench into the whole operation while one or two people leave their posts and run around solving somebody's problem with their plant.

So, I am sort of trapped near the phone because I can usually answer the question. Yesterday, it rang off the hook. Thank goodness I have developed the ability to nap between phone calls. I shut the door to my office, lay on the floor, fall asleep, yet can sit up and grab the phone on the first ring, be coherent for a minute, only to lay back down and fall right asleep.

I have to take notes during the call, though, or it will all be forgotten.

Thanks to phone naps, I am pretty refreshed by five o'clock when the crew goes home and the family takes over customer service duties until closing at eight. Otherwise, I would be very tired and cranky by that time.

My favorite phone queries--about two or three per day--involve plants purchased at Wal-Mart. How do I take care of this thing? Will it live over winter? How do I get it to bloom? It looks sick...what can I do? I am now resisting the urge to be a smart aleck and am trying to take it as a compliment that they call us for advice.

AUNT OLLA is preparing a written clarification of the beer incident last week at the Pizza Hut. I will publish it here when it arrives in the mail. She said she wants to try to rescue what is left of her reputation after I reported here that she got carded while trying to buy beer. I know what is coming: She swears she only drinks 1/3 of any drink she orders. Ahem.