There Is Always Something To Celebrate

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There is way too much murky news going on around us. International politics have always been dicey, but these days it is downright scary. National politics have been immovable for years— nothing new there, and state politics are simply unbelievable. It is difficult to celebrate.

However, as I sit here this morning, I feel like the fellow pouring a bracing beverage at three in the afternoon stating, “It is 5 o’clock somewhere.” Regardless of the bad things around us, there is always something to celebrate — my son-in-law just celebrated the opening of his new restaurant, my neighbors are joyous about the arrival of a healthy baby boy, my granddaughter at the age of 12 started a class for young teens and my brother and his wife are about to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. Nothing worthy of headlines, to be sure, but it is the rejoicing in the little things that measures our success.

I was rummaging around this week thinking about what I should write about when I realized I had something to celebrate, as well — and something I could celebrate with you. I hope you don’t mind.

Tips Of The Trade Turns 30

This is my 30th anniversary of writing this column! Every month for 30 years, I have penned something different, occasionally memorable, and sometimes quite forgettable. When such landmarks are realized, we tend to think back to the beginnings. Without boring you with details, my mentor Dr. Will Carlson and the incomparable Dick Meister asked a young whippet if he would like to write a column or two — they certainly saw more in my abilities than I did.

The year was 1984, the same year Apple introduced its new product called the Macintosh, the PG-13 rating for movies was initiated, Ronald Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter for the presidency of the United States and I wrote a column titled “Gone But Not Forgotten,” about how growers should acclimate bedding plants for the retail environment. As I read it now, I could change the photo of that young fellow, perhaps the font and typeface and resubmit it today. Sometimes not a lot changes.

Tips Of The Trade first appeared in March 1984, so we have missed the anniversary by a few months, but it is cause for celebration nevertheless.

Since that time, I have seen the rise of the box stores, the explosion of new plant material, the demise of the small grower, the proliferation of new crops, the explosion of marketing, the emergence of the digital world and the mergers of mega corporations. At this magazine, I have seen editors come and go, administrative and sales folks change and the passing of my mentor. However, the quality of Greenhouse Grower just gets stronger, and Dick Meister is still as sharp as the young man he was when he started this magazine.

Compiling My Best Moments

I have been going through a number of old columns lately; some are not half bad. Maybe I’ll enlist some reader help to choose some memorable ones (might be a short list) and put them together in a “best of” booklet some day.

Yes, there are tough times raging about us, and questions about the future of our jobs, our businesses and our lives are always going to make one pause. But it is 5 o’clock somewhere and if I have been able to do this for 30 years without being fired, you have nothing to worry about. As I said, there is always something to celebrate.

Allan Armitage (allan@greenhouse grower.com) is a professor in the Department of Horticulture at the University of Georgia, Athens, Ga.

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