For over twenty-four years I worked in the same place. My parents opened the garden center in 1982. I went to work there in ‘84. I met many people that have turned out to be life-long friends. We had lots of good times over the years. When I was pregnant with my first child, we hired a young mother, who would work at the business for almost as long as I was there and became a close friend to the family. We had a technique we perfected to avoided waiting on certain customers. When we would see someone we wanted to avoid, we would excuse ourselves to the restroom or go outside. It worked out great, unless it was just the two of us in the store, then it would be a race to the bathroom. One day she got the drop on me and rushed off to the bathroom as I was left seething to wait on the customer. This customer was rather strange. He asked where the bathroom was, to my delight. I pointed him in the right direction and sat back to listen. I sat snickering as he tried to basically break the door down trying to get in. Needless to say, she wasn’t happy with me.
At one time one of my uncles worked in the store with us. We had a young man that worked after-school. When the young man was done with his work at the end of the day he was allowed to sit and watch my uncle play solitaire on the computer. If he spoke during the game (such as to say, play your ten) he would have to go sweep the store. When we were all finished with our work and we were waiting on the clock to tell us it was time to close, we would be “force” to play hang man. If someone would come to the door after closing and the door was locked my uncle would yell, “Hit the Deck” and we would all drop to the floor and hide. I really don’t know why we just didn’t tell them we were closed but it was always a good time. One day he was giving me a ride home and there was a car left in the parking lot. I remember him saying, “I better go back inside and check. There might be someone dead in the shitter.”
One of my childhood friends came to work in the late 90’s. I remember a couple that were customers of ours came in the store one day. I had only talked to them on the phone and had never met them. He was dressed like a boat captain, complete with the hat. She was dressed in a colorful orange stripped dress with a full skirt and a matching hat. After they left, she remarked, “Oh my gosh, they looked liked characters from The Far Side”. When I was pregnant with my third child, I was in my early thirties. She got me a card that said, “Look at the bright side, you could be this old and pregnant.” Underneath she wrote, “Oh that’s right, you ARE!!”
I am back at the garden center under new ownership. I have met a whole new crew of people but that is another story……..