I know I am not really becoming older, and I know I am certainly not growing wiser. Yet every now and then I learn that something I’ve said in the past has taken root in the minds of many people, and it reappears in the most extraordinary ways. I often tell my students that what you say and what you write may not seem especially profound to you, but it might be especially meaningful to others.
Recently I was honored by friends and colleagues for my efforts in the Trial Gardens at the University of Georgia. The Gardens have come a long way in the thirty years since we turned the first spadeful of soil. It meant a great deal to me that people came up to the microphone and spoke fondly of me and the Gardens. There is no doubt that what was created there has positively influenced hundreds of people. I was proud and humbled. And surprised.
A special treat was seeing my wonderful and beautiful daughter Laura come up and speak. I hadn’t known she was going to be there, and she had her two children, Mary Grace and Hampton, in tow.
I loved that she came, and was especially touched by her statement — a poem, of all things. Near the end of her remarks, with everyone absolutely rapt, she stated that one of the credos in her life was something I told her many years ago, “Dig a ten-dollar hole for a ten-cent plant.” She then mentioned how those words helped her by saying, “You never know how things will work out, and being ready for anything keeps small problems small.
It was a marvelous way to end her presentation, but I hardly remembered saying this, and I certainly did not know that it had stuck with her. Such is the way of life; often the comment uttered in passing is far more important that the statement offered in a serious conversation. Kids, clients, students, friends and family — everyone hears things a little differently. If we only knew which ones stuck, perhaps we would become a little wiser after all. GG