If you’re a regular reader of my stories and reports, you may remember how last year I got kicked out of my Favorite plant place because I told the owner, who I considered a friend, that she should be wearing a mask. Here’s what I wrote last year…
Wow, that was awkward… April 19, 2020
I’ve been soo looking forward to getting down to my local plant place this morning. I had read an FB post that said she’d require masks and gloves, limit the amount of people inside (it is very small and crowded with plants), and so I felt she was doing her best to keep us all safe. I was very disappointed when I saw that she was Not wearing a mask and I said so as I walked in.
She went off on me. I mean, she was hollering at me, shaking, tears…Told me that the Dept. of Health said she and her employees cannot wear masks and that the problem was with the shoes…that I would need to go home and bleach my shoes after I shopped… My jaw dropped, under my mask, and I said, I’m sorry. I was thinking about You; I’m wearing a mask. She yelled that my mask wasn’t doing me any good (per the Health Dept.) I was wearing gloves and she shouted that I couldn’t wear those gloves in and they had an employee standing there (no mask) handing out gloves (no social distancing). She howled that she and her employees are not sick…(you could still be a carrier) I tried to calm her down, but she kept on wailing that I just don’t know how scared she is and how hard she’s working. (good thing she’s not a nurse) She was screaming all this standing about a foot away from me and realized how close she was, so she stepped back a couple of feet and kept yelling, Inside people stopped and stared, many of them not wearing masks, many of them crowded together. During the rant she said the Health Dept. told her she is not allowed to Make people wear masks. This went on a little longer until I said, If you’re going to keep yelling at me I guess I’ll just leave. She said Go. I was shaking by that time, so that was that.
That place has been a part of my life since I started gardening 20+ years ago and I’m already grieving it. I love those people and support them even in the winter time when they’re just a convenience store. The yelling lady is a kind person and I forgive her for her tirade, but there was no social distancing going on by her or her employees and they were Not Wearing Masks to protect themselves. I hope they’re all okay and remain healthy.
Fast forward through a year that went rather slow-motion through rising numbers of Covid cases and deaths. I have already been up to Hillside Nursery for my veggies and bought some herbs, as well, but I miss the variety of perennials and herbs that I could Always find at Ronnie’s Fruit Stand, the business that had thrown me out. I checked out her FB page and Lo! and Behold!, she was taking appointments, limiting people to 20-25 at a time, emphasizing that All should wear masks as she feels our statewide mandate was rescinded too soon. I wondered, but I was ready to shop and Opening Day was the next morning. I signed up for a 9am appointment.
When I got there, I saw that the Owner was busy helping people, wearing a mask. I slinked around and back to the Herb Section and it was like heaven to see full racks of hard-to-find favorites of mine like lemon verbena and pineapple sage, and there was plenty of basil. In the perennial section I picked up some liatris and coreopsis, chatting away with other shoppers, just so glad to be back. As I stood in line to check out, the owner came up to speak to me…
“I’m really sorry about what happened last year. I’m so glad you are here and I was so wrong to act the way I did. ”
I answered, “It’s okay, I know you were really stressed.” and we shared a big masked, vaccinated, almost post-Covid hug. “Have you stayed well?”
Tears came to her eyes as she replied, “No. On May 1 I got sick. I almost died. I thought I was going to die.” We shared another hug. Note that May first was less than two weeks after our encounter.
So I’m glad to be able to run back and forth for plants at my old stomping ground, but saddened that the messages about how to avoid being infected were so mixed. I’m sure glad my friend recovered.
We’re supposed to have frosts and snow flurries this coming week, so my plant-babies will be taken in and out of the shed for a while longer. Spring takes its time, but I’m hoping that will be our last frost.