Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 12

MILL CREEK STORIES

By MOLLY DUGGER BRENNAN

Headline News
How news from far away came to rest at the heart.

W

e live in a small world, tiny really
and getting smaller every day. It's
often surprising how a news story
from far away will end up affecting my business or me personally. This is the story of how one
day, a headline did that very thing.
My husband Patrick and I used to own an orchid
nursery in the Shenandoah Valley. Not only did we
grow orchids, but we hybridized them and we competed
at flower shows. We had a business that was not too big,
not too small, about 10,000 square feet of greenhouses
holding approximately 70,000 plants in various stages of
growth. Ours was a pretty product and when the greenhouses were in bloom, it was breathtaking to behold.
We traveled north to south from New Hampshire to
Florida, and west to the Mississippi River. At our busiest, we worked sales booths and competed in 35 shows
a year. It was exhausting but never boring. Our biggest show, the one that accounted for the largest single
chunk of our income every year, was the New York International Orchid Show. People flew in from all over
the world to compete or just to attend, spending their
vacation hours there. It was big time. The highlight of
our lives as growers was the year we were awarded Best
Plant in Show there. That was a dream come true, an
incredible honor, and we were so proud.

Being old hands at
shows, we knew not to
try to unload our truck
and set up our booth
during the day. The key to
arriving at a huge show and not losing
your mind during set up was to show up in the middle
of the night. The freight elevator, which was really small
for the size of the building, would be free and the show
area was empty.
Being New York, you never left your truck unattended at the loading dock, no matter what time it was. Not
being into heavy lifting, I guarded the truck while my
husband and brother-in-law did all the real labor, bless
their hearts.
It would take hours to unload and set up. Hours.
There's not much happening on a loading dock in the
middle of the night, even in the city that never sleeps. It
might not actually sleep, but New York gets drowsy and
quiet after 3:00 am. I'd get bored. I'd try to make friends
with the dumpster rats. I'd talk to anybody who wandered by. If you talk to New Yorkers in
the middle of the night, they scurry
away faster than the rats do. The rats
were at least curious.
Then an elderly Latino gentleman
wearing a building uniform came out
with trash. He was old enough to be
long-since retired with grandchildren
bouncing on his knee but here he was,
working the night shift. Well, you
know us Southern women. We can and
will talk to anyone, and a little friendly

... he gave me a nut off a large
bolt, placing it on my finger as a
ring and kissed my hand.
12

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018

Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 6
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 7
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 8
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 10
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 12
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 13
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 14
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 16
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 18
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 22
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 23
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 24
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 25
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 26
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 34
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 38
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 40
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 42
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 44
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 45
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 46
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 48
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 49
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 50
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 51
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 52
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 54
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 55
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 56
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 57
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 58
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 59
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 62
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 63
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 64
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 66
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 67
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 68
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 69
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 70
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 71
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 72
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 73
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 74
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - Cover4
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