Saturday, May 24, 2008

My summer with a green thumb.

It was 29 summers ago when I attended Frost Lake elementary for summer school. It wasn’t because I was in danger of not moving on to fifth grade that September. No, my mother knew that if I didn’t have an outlet then I’d be in the apartment all day watching game shows or playing “Pong”.

I hadn’t thought much about that Summer until I read that my 4-H teacher passed away.

Horticulturist Frederick (Freddie) Glasoe dispensed gardening advice with a direct manner and his distinctive squeaky, gravelly voice as co-host of KSTP-AM radio's "Home and Garden" show on Saturday mornings for three decades.

Glasoe, 80, a retired science teacher and former president of the Minnesota State Horticultural Society, died of heart disease on May 14 in Ojai, Calif.

I recall Mr. Glasoe reminding me of Oliver Hardy of the famed duo Laurel & Hardy. Of course, I never had the guts to tell him that.

In the article announcing his passing, he was described as having a “squeaky, gravelly voice.” I recall one incident in particular when that voice barked at me in annoyance. Now the first ten years of my life I had lived in nothing but city dwellings where the only horticulture I knew of was patches of grass with dandelions. So when we were tromping around in the school garden in the summer of ’79, Mr. Glasoe was showing us how to spruce up the area. He then complained of all the weeds which were growing and then yanked out a fistful near some plants. At that point, I said “Mr. Glasoe, isn’t that a tomato plant you just pulled out?” Horrified, he looked at what he had in his hand and then looked at me and said “Nobody likes a smart a$$” and then moved on. I recall one of his 4-H helpers laughing to the point of his face turning purple.

To this day, I still know very little about horticulture…except for the fact I can tell the difference between a tomato plant and weeds.



Anonymous said...

Hey! Happy Day!

StarBittrune said...

Freddie the Gardener was from Ojai? That's the hometown of Col. Steve Austin and Jamie Sommers. I always thought he (Freddie) was impressive, but it never occurred to me he may have actually been bionic.

Brad Carlson said...

When I was in first grade, I had a Steve Austin action figure. I never had the desire to obtain a Freddie Glasoe action figure, however.