Compassion over mulch at the White Oak Garden Center

It was a Sunday in early May but not Mother’s Day. I may not have had much sense driving to the White Oak Garden Center to do what I planned to do but I did have sense enough to avoid it on such a special flower day.

I went to get some mulch.

That sounds ordinary enough now, doesn’t it? But it had been barely ten weeks since my open heart surgery and lifting was still tentative, especially a forty pound bag of mulch.

After I had selected and paid for my four bags, I started driving to the back to pick up my order. By now there were several cars with uncertain drivers, including me. Where were we to park for the mulch? There were options which–with a car behind me, one in front, and one on the side–began to irritate me. (I realized later that my irritation had to do with my sudden realization that I was going to have trouble unloading my mulch at home!)

One of my pet peeves is someone following too closely and, although the young guy in the red truck wasn’t actually doing so, in my agitated state he seemed close. I made an irritated face and put my left hand out the window, showing “hold on!”

When he and the other guy ended up next to me, I felt embarrassed. The garden guy took their receipt first and the older man who turned out to be the father said, “She was before us.”

“Thanks, I appreciate that. And–sorry I was in a bad mood driving down here. I didn’t know where to park and was feeling surrounded by cars.”

“Oh, don’t worry about it. Hi, I’m Dan and this is my son.”

How gracious! Dan and I shook hands.

The garden guy deposited mulch into the back on my Honda CR-V. It hit me: how the hell was I going to deal with these bags once I got home? I muttered something to this effect.

“How close do you live? We could follow you and get it out of your car for you.”

I couldn’t believe his offer. The Universe seemed to be answering my muttered wish.

“That’s so kind of you! I might just take you up on your offer. You see, I’m recuperating from heart surgery.”

After they got their twenty bags of mulch in the back of their truck, Dan and his son followed me on Sheed Road.
I backed into the side yard in front of the fence gate to the back. They put two bags there and two bags in front by some bushes.

“Thank you so much. You’ve given me faith again in human beings!”

As we talked, the conversation came back to my recent open heart surgery. What hospital, when, and more. Dan told me he is a nurse and teaches at Cincinnati State Community College. What were the odds? I was amazed by the coincidence of being helped by someone who knew so much about health. And was so kind.

They admired my little nature preserve and said their goodbyes. I felt warm and fuzzy inside, trite but true. And will never look at bags of mulch the same again.

2 responses to “Compassion over mulch at the White Oak Garden Center

  1. What a lovely and well-told story!

  2. Rashma N. Kalsie


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