It’s been almost two years now since my mom passed away. She was Johnnye Merle, as in Johnnye Merle Gardens and Nursery! After she died I wrote an article about her, mentioning that I wish she would have had a chance to have known or just held her great-granddaughter. Unfortunately, Riley was born four days before my mom died, and my mom never got to hold her, but she did get to see a picture. I knew in my heart though, that my mom would always be looking down at Johnnye Merle Gardens, which was named after her, and watching as Riley, Josalyn, Arianna, and now Adrian grew and learned about plants, gardening, and just the meaning of friendship, love and family. They would learn about putting back in the earth what you take. And now, two years later, I know my mom is pretty happy watching our “youngin’s” running around out back. They can all walk now, even Adrian is beginning to. I know that would make her smile.
There is just something magical about little kids during the summer months. They get to be just “kids” and I believe this is the time when their creativity is at its peak. Endless hours to play, use their imaginations or just hang out with their friends. Life is calmer, more fun and there is much more time for and gardening, playing, and enjoying the sunshine and water. The other day, Josalyn’s mom, Yesi, was out in JM gardens watering. It was just one of those beautiful SoCal summer days. Josalyn just happen to have her swimsuit with her, and Country Roads just happened to have a big, old washtub! And when you are a little kid that means having your own private swimming pool! That is my favorite part about little kids. It doesn’t take much to make them happy or to improvise. They use their imaginations in ways that we as adults have many times simply have forgotten we even have imaginations!
Someone once asked me if I thought it was “professional” to have little kids at the store, meaning Country Roads. I guess it would depend how you define professional. Country Roads is a family business. And being a family business, means there are kids involved. My own kids were about 7, 9, and 11 when I opened Country Roads. They’ve grown up in the store and learned to work, just as I imagine our new generation of little kids will. Sure, when one of them is screaming, it’s annoying, but rare. And after all, our little ones aren’t here all the time, just on special occasions or a babysitting crisis. I love how the little ones have learned to become friends and play together. Actually, the three little girls; Riley, Josalyn, and Arianna, will be flower girls this fall in Pam Richardson’s wedding. I’ve known Pam since she was five years old. These are the memories, the stories, the friendships and love that make Country Roads the store it is. We’ve got great stuff, good prices and an awesome garden out back named after my mom, Johnnye Merle! I know my mom is watching it all and knowing I did “good” with the little ones, just as she use to do herself. She taught my kids when they were little about gardening. It always made her smile. Little kids are great if you take the time to enjoy them. I hope summer gives you that extra time this year. One of my favorite quotes is: “While we try to teach our children all about life, Our children teach us what life is all about”. Angela Schwindt
Have a happy, relaxing summer, and just make some time to do nothing with your youngins!