“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” Greek proverb
“Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God.” Thomas Jefferson
Staff members from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society asked me to talk. I agreed. If an opportunity presents itself to share a good word on the cause of botany before an enthusiastic audience, one should always accept it.
The presentation was a give and take. Reviewing nearly 300 years of horticultural history can be a daunting proposition if all that’s covered is facts, figures, faces, and fictions.
It’s much better if the history takes second place to interest, enthusiasm and contemporary point of reference.
I was directed to use a device to project my voice over a large area of benched seating. There was a crowd of people collected on the seats while others walked past during and around the events of the hour.
Questions were asked and answered. And I was included in the discussion. “Who was I?” “What did I do?” “Are you William Penn?” (That was a popular question posed throughout the day!) “How do you ship plants in wooden ships?”
All of the questions were well received and thoroughly dissected.
I must say that it was a pleasurable honor to be asked to speak. It was a momentous occasion to then have a repeat performance on a second night. It allowed me to change my linen and present a much more formal front.
As for my wife, Ann had finally been allowed to come out from the fireside and experience her husband’s rhetoric in the first person.
It’s a grand night when family members can come together in public to bask in the reflected glow of the limelight.