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Musings About Family, Travel And Gardening With Allen Martinson.


Give Them the Finger

THIS ARTICLE WILL be coming out just before the last Monday in May. Memorial Day, the day that Americans remember those people who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. We celebrate and remember those fallen soldiers in all kinds of ways.

We visit graveyards. We have family and friends gather and we take a day off of work to remember them in any way we choose to. We traditionally fix up our yards and spiffy up our flower beds with our day off from the grind especially since we may have people gathering in our neighborhoods. Some will hang American flags for the day or the week to show our respect.

Mimi and I had a Memorial Day party every year for 10 years. Ours was called The Hootenany. A hootenany is when people who can play musical instruments gather in circles and jam, ours were bluegrass jams. There would be a main band and there would be small circles all over the yard made up of people with stand up basses, fiddles, mandolins and guitars.We would invite people from all of our circles of friends and mix it all up. Not every one at the party could play something but everyone enjoyed the sounds.

Me and a few others would stay up the night before to cook a whole pig on a rack over a pit of open flames. It was fun, but by the time people started showing up I was about worn out. Mimi had t-shirts made every year, I still see people wearing those shirts from time to time. Sometimes I recognize the person wearing the Martinson Hootenany shirts and sometimes I have no idea who that person is, always makes for an interesting conversation. We stopped having the parties a few years back and now have a smaller, more laid back version of that which doesn’t cause me to stay up way later than I am now capable of.

In the nursery business we tend to think of Memorial Day as the beginning of the end of our busy season. I always said that when the mascara starts running while the shoppers are picking out their flowers we can put a nail in it. Since we started our Bonus Bucks program back in 2001 I have been proved wrong on that theory. Our customers get one Bonus Buck back for every $10 they spend, most people get around 10 or 15 bucks at every check out. That really adds up when you start collecting Bonus Bucks on September 1 until the last day of June. The bucks can be spent like real money between July 1 and the last day of August for up to half your purchase. We are essentially giving our customers a 10% discount for every purchase.

Most people have 500 to 600 bucks to spend, it’s lots of fun to see the excitement during that time of year when we used to be like the Maytag man twiddling our thumbs in those relentlessly hot months. If a customer shops with us for their fall plants, Christmas and spring they will have collected enough bucks for some great 50% off shopping that includes everything in the store in July and August, just not our landscape services.

Those hot months are right around the corner so it might be time to up our irrigation game at our homes and businesses. I try to keep my vegetable garden on the dry side but I keep my flower beds watered evenly and I tend to run my lawn on the thirsty side. Those practices seem to keep every thing jiving right on through fall when the rains begin to fall again.

SINCE I GET TO WRITE about just about anything I want to, I wanted to tell about some of the inventions that have crossed my mind over my lifetime. Inventions that I didn’t act on, of course, but should have. Mimi and I used to drive through the delta a lot in our early years since that is where we visited her family when we could. I decided to conduct an experiment while we were whiling away the time. I held up my finger on the steering wheel, my forefinger not the middle finger. Most people will raise their finger back up to you in an unofficial wave, some don’t. I think in the south its just an unspoken courtesy thing to wave back, even if it just the raising of a finger.

I thought about having a clip on plastic hand with a raised up finger on your steering wheel so that no matter what, you could be a good southern person and give approaching cars the finger. I’m picturing selling these things for super cheap right there near the cash register next to all the other crazy junk they sell there now. Right next to the pickle juice, lighters, and all that other junk I don’t even know what it is half the time. I envision that later, when every one in America has a finger on their steering wheel. The fingers could be changed so the middle one could be used when appropriate. I’m thinking Pet Rock, just one of those things you just gotta have because every one else got one.

Hopefully the “give ‘em The Finger” invention doesn’t wind up leaving me like The Jerk when every one starts having wrecks because the finger somehow impeded the drivers view.

Max texted me a picture the other day, I waited too long, it’s been done, someone has patented the finger, much more lifelike than I had envisioned but they got it.

The other one I thought of during college that someone has now followed through with is The Laundry Machine. With this one you would throw your laundry into the washing machine just like normal, only you don’t have to take them out to throw them into the dryer. After the spin cycle the heat comes on and the clothes are tumbled right then and there. Seems like they would have thought about that a long time ago. Well, they have now. I forget sometimes that I’ve done a load and the clothes wind up sitting there for far too long.

Another one I’m too slow moving on is one I call SunTacs. Instead of having raccoon eyes after spending a day in the sun from wearing sunglasses you would instead put sun protection contact lenses in you eyes and not have to fool around with glasses at all. The golf guys got that one. There is such a thing.

Oh well, at least my crazy ideas were justified by at least one other person thinking up the same thing and thinking that it might just work. Only difference is they acted upon it. I’m going to order a finger. You’ll know it’s me when you see me coming and giving you the finger. The forefinger hopefully

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