The Ten-Dollar Hole

             I know I am not really becoming older, and I know I am certainly not getting wiser, yet every now and then I learn that something I’ve said in the past has taken root in the minds of many people, and reappear in the most extraordinary ways. I often tell my students that what you say and what you write may not seem especially profound when you do them, but you never know when you will hear about them again, and what they may mean to people.

Susan, Laura, and grandchildren at the UGA retirement celebration. July 2013.

            Recently I was honored by friends and colleagues for my efforts in the Trial Gardens at the University of Georgia. The Gardens have come a long way in thirty years, and people came up on spoke fondly of me and the Gardens.   There is no doubt that what was created there has positively influenced hundreds of people. I was proud and humbled. And surprised!

          Because one of the speakers who came forward that morning was my wonderful and beautiful daughter Laura, with her two children in tow. I was touched that she came, but especially touched by her comments – a poem, of all things. Near the end of her remarks, with everyone absolutely rapt, she stated that one of the credos in her life was something I told her many years ago, “Dig a ten-dollar hole for a ten-cent plant.” 

            She then mentioned how those words helped her out by saying, “You never know how things will work out, and being ready for anything keeps small problems small.”

            It was a marvelous way to end her presentation, but I hardly remembered saying these things and I certainly did not know that they had stuck.  Such is the way of life; often the comment uttered in passing is far more important that the statement offered in a serious conversation. Kids, clients, students, friends and family—everyone hears things a little differently, if we only knew which ones stuck, perhaps we would become a little wiser after all.


AuthorAllan Armitage