Friday, March 9, 2012


by Mickey Hunt

        David Welch, Sr. arranged flowers, but right away you probably adopted the wrong impression about him, because he made the art form nearly into a masculine sport. As with the great chefs and composers of the world, most of the top floral designers are men.
        I suppose his regular work lent masculinity to his love for color, pattern, balance, theme—all those elements contributing to a finished arrangement. And his were not just “arrangements”—the masses of flowers you see at weddings or funerals—rather, they portrayed natural environments and worlds in themselves reflecting an idealization of life. He was a landscaper and a retail nursery owner—had been all of his adult life.
        He didn’t actually begin flower arranging until his wife died four years ago. That’s when he ordered several boxes of flowers and made the funeral displays himself, weeping off and on. Those displays were simple, like what you usually see, he being a beginner, though they served well enough.
        Funeral flowers . . . they never help anything . . . they’re mere thoughts, symbols of sympathy and consolation, and not real in themselves.
        Hannah is real. She emanates a beauty that catches your eye, yes, but becomes even more apparent and satisfying the more you watch her, the more you get to know her. A complicated beauty and intelligence that might intimidate most men, the beauty of a talented movie star when she isn’t made up and glamorized. She was a friend of David’s daughter, Olivia, and was the same age as her, and she worked at the nursery in the summers, the Bluestone Nursery and Landscaping. Hannah was pursuing a horticultural degree at North Carolina State University, and when she graduated, she came on board as a manager...
[Arrangements continued]

Arrangements (4316 words) was revised and re-titled on 10/17/14.

Update 10/24/16:  Watch a HD video of me handing out the first five paragraphs of this story at an anti North Carolina HB-2 rally in Asheville.
Part One.  Part Two.

1 comment:

  1. The Bluestone Nursery idea was inspired by a local retail nursery whose owners I know. Once right after college I worked at a rhododendron nursery near Tiger, Georgia and dug up a huge quartz crystal. At least I thought it was quartz. It could have been something more valuable. I gave it to the owner of the nursery, but now I wish I had kept it. So, I'm different than David Welsh. Welsh is the name of a family I knew where I grew up in Fern Prairie, Washington.