Column: Good soil, good seed, and proper care are not always enough

Michael Alcorn
Posted 8/10/22

I have a friend whose daughter is about to get married. But they’re having a difficult time filling out the wedding party.

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Column: Good soil, good seed, and proper care are not always enough

Posted

Hard times make hard men; hard men make good times; good times make soft men; soft men make hard times.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

I have a friend whose daughter is about to get married. But they’re having a difficult time filling out the wedding party. Apparently, one of the “new things” for the next generation is that members of the wedding party are responsible for an awful lot of the bride’s expenses. And, when you’re talking about people who, by and large, are recently out of school, you’re asking an awful lot, it seems.

Add this on top of the way Prom and Homecoming have become ridiculous… Back in my day, it was considered a big deal that Mom and Dad would let you drive the “good car” to Prom; these days, you’re out of place when you don’t pull up in a limousine.

To be sure, this isn’t the kids’ fault: they’re doing what they’re being allowed to do. We’ve just gotten to the point where parents don’t keep the kids’ “want lists” between the rails, and the kids haven’t learned the difference between “want” and “need.” Someday, that difference is going to slap them in the face.

Now, get off my lawn…

*****

I feel the need to briefly revisit the idea of gardening. At the risk of torturing the metaphor…

‘Cuz we all know I never do that…

Gardens are not always perfectly cooperative. I have a little flower garden area that I created two years ago and only one of the plants from that original batch is still alive. Last year, 10 of the replacement 12 I planted survived; this year, a couple of the 12 have already died. I did almost the exact same thing with every one of those little flowers, but some thrive, some merely survive, and some die. In the meantime, this wisteria I planted looked dead for two years, and then, out of the blue, is now thriving.

In other words, good soil, good seed, and proper care are not always enough. When two children grow up in the same environment, there’s no guarantee that they will take the same path through life. Two organizations follow the same approximate blueprint, but there’s no guarantee that they will be equally productive. Likewise, sometimes all the right actions produce zero results for some time — even negative results — but then produce a startling end product. Nothing involving growing things should be expected to behave like an algorithm.

But their odds are next to zero if nobody bothers to plant the right seeds.

*****

P.S. If you want an entertaining experience, go to “The Butchery,” in north Arvada (Colorado Community Media Best of Arvada), on the weekend, and ask the bartender, Vernon (CCM BoA), to whip you up an Old Fashioned. If you’re not a whiskey drinker, you’ll have to get someone else to drink it for you, I suppose. But the presentation is great fun!

Michael Alcorn is a former teacher and current writer who lives in Arvada with his wife and three children. His new novel, “Valkyrie’s Kiss,” a finalist in the ScreenCraft Book Competition, is available now at mjalcorn@comcast.net. His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.

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