Last weekend (as I will be this coming weekend), I was at the Maryland Spring Home & Garden Show. Emily, the daughter of my cousin Mark Behnke, agreed to help me at my booth! For many years cousin Mark was the Behnke Nurseries I.T. manager and company President.
What a wonderful young woman Emily is. While I have always known that she, along with her brothers and her cousins, are great, I have never really gotten to spend a lot of time one on one with any of them. So it was a joy to get to know Emily while we helped customers. I loved that she got to hear so many stories from people that stopped when they saw our sign, “Beyond Behnke’s!” I knew that Emily had always known just how special Behnke’s was, hearing the stories and seeing the emotions when folks shared a special memory was priceless.
Between the crazy busy years of operating our wholesale nursery and then going to work at Behnke’s, time just slipped by for me. I remember when Emily was born, her father brought her out to my greenhouses as a baby for a visit. I think he figured I would never meet little Emily unless he brought her to me.
I read once that when looking back on their lives many people have one major end-of-life regret: they wish they had spent more time with loved ones – whether their family members or close friends. While I know I did my best to juggle my immediate family and make a living, I did miss out on so many things like these awesome cousins of mine as they grew up.
Like so many businesses, owning a nursery is a seven-day-a-week commitment. However, I was blessed with a very understanding extended family that would include my family on many occasions. My mother would take my children to visit while my husband and I kept working. There always seemed to be something that needed to be done.
Emily’s grandmother Ele Behnke and her Aunt Jeanne and Uncle Jim came by to check out the show and see us. It was so much fun having her there, and even better, a good friend of the Behnke’s, Ludy Schneider, stopped by to say hello. Even a few former Behnke employees, whom I call “Behnke Bests”– like Hank Doong and his wife Sue, and Anita made the long drive to say hi!
All in all, it was a fantastic weekend, filled with great conversations about memories of Behnke Nurseries, as so many of you stopped in and shared. I can’t wait for this weekend to spend more time with Emily and make even more memories. Somehow, I need to figure out how to spend more time with her brothers and all the rest of my cousin’s children… hmmm…