Proudly presented from www.writerssecrets.com Book Series
Excerpts from “You were never lovelier, you were never so fair.” June 2016. Flower Power Vol. 3″ by Dr. Jeffrey Lant
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Some thirty years ago or more, when I moved into my
condominium hard by the Cambridge Common (never call it a
park at your peril, for the locals are pernickety about such
descriptions), the Common was a public menace. It’s 8.5 acres
were defiled by the harmless mentally disturbed who slept willy
nilly on the ground and on benches, and who turned the pride
of the Pilgrims into a noisome urinal. It was a disgusting display
of what happens when civic “leaders” forget what they are in
office to do, thereby leaving a disgusting eyesore in the middle
of the city for all to see.
Each day, for week after week, month after month, I called the
mayor’s office, I called the office of the city councilors, I called
the parks division to do something, and do it now. At the
beginning, they treated me like they treat so many people with
good ideas… like a crank, a menace, someone who interrupted
the happy rhythms of their usual slothful day. That was at the
Soon, the mere mention of my name caused weary secretaries
and bureaucrats to swoon. “Yes, Dr. Lant.” “We know, Dr. Lant.”
“The mayor is busy, Dr. Lant… but he will call you back. We
promise.” “The councilors are busy, Dr. Lant.” “The responsible
bureaucrats are busy, Dr. Lant. No one can see you.” And that
was a match to the tinder. Day in, day out, in inclement weather
or radiant sun, I made my daily calls until I could hear the sheer
joy in their voice, so that progress was beginning to take effect.
Hey presto! One Cambridge mayor was produced. Voila!
I literally took his honor by the hand and showed him where to
look and where to sniff. He made a note of both. And so, the
great wheels of government began to turn, ever so slowly. I
said to his honor, the mayor, “Any official in any European city
our size would regard the absence of green grass properly
cut, trees properly tended, and pots of flowers in riotous
numbers as a disgrace.”
But Americans, here as in so many other ways, regards flowers
as superfluous, unessential, and a waste of money. That was
several years ago. And slowly, ever so slowly, improvements
came to the great Common, where I might, by law, allow my
cattle and horses to graze, should I ever get any. They,
however, were not my immediate purpose.
And so, bit by bit, the homeless people were removed to places
one hopes are better suited to their needs than a park bench
during a blizzard.
New trees began to be planted, and mirabile dictu new grass
covered the old patches, so that it became what is was meant
to be, to always be, a verdant presence, a place restful to the
eye and to the spirit, where one could sit upon a bench or
under a tree, and lose one’s self in a good book or computer
All this is good, but it is not yet good enough. What is missing,
you say? There is the great statue of Abraham Lincoln, who
visited Cambridge on at least two occasions. One was to check
up on his son, Robert, who was flunking out of the Law School.
Even the most famous of parents are called upon to deal with
domestic crises of this nature, and great Abe was no exception.
There is the statue of John Bridge, Puritan, who brought the
benefits of public education to the Commonwealth in the 17th
Century. There the misplaced statue of the Irish emigres who
fled Ireland during the great famine. It is a second rate piece
of work which belongs in a lesser space, in a lesser place.
But you will look in vain for snatches, even the smallest
snatches of color, riotous color, color that thrills you. And why
not? Flowers have that power, but we have no flowers. Peter,
Paul, and Mary once asked “Where have all the flowers gone?”
And should they come to Cambridge they would know… they
didn’t come here at all, for no one insisted on their presence,
except for the citizens who were happier each day they saw
them enlightening the Common.
Perhaps the City Fathers and City Mothers think that we
Cantabrigians, for such we call ourselves, are not yet broken
in as regards flowers. They may think the careless folk, little
aware of how difficult it was to get the flowers here in the first
place, might allow their urinating dogs to pollute them. I concur,
that could well be an issue.
Or perhaps they will think that hoodlums might do wheelies
through all the color, for the shear joy of being destructive
and “cool”. This, too, is a potential worry.
Or young lovers, of whom we have a plethora, an
overabundance, might pluck the fairest blooms to give to a
lover, who might be superceded in an moment or two for
someone better in every way. This, too, could happen.
But we cannot deny the great majority of our fellow citizens
the beauty of flowers… even if the first crop, and the second
crop, and, yes, the third crop be destroyed by one menace or
another. We must be tenacious and insist upon beauty as the
goal, no matter how long it takes to achieve it. Are you listening
Mr. Mayor? Are you listening councilors, great and powerful
councilors? Are you listening well paid and slow moving
bureaucrats? This is Dr. Lant, remember me?
And in case you do not know or understand the value of these
flowers in all their majesty and beauty and color, I have now
written three volumes on flowers, this being the third. You
have only to read a few pages to understand what flowers can
bring once they are welcomed, and not denied.
Here, in this book, in this three volume series, you will find all
the reasons you will ever need to put flowers in our Common,
and complete the long pending task. For without flowers there
cannot be, will never be a conclusion that is suitable for the
people of this great, internationally renowned and much visited
city, settled by Puritans for the work of God.
And if you do not think that planting flowers is the work of God,
then you need to stop and look about you, for each flower is an
emissary of God to cheer us in our miseries, as the stories in
my three volumes show so well.
I give you two musical notations.
One, “You were never lovelier” (1942) starring Rita Hayworth
and Fred Astaire, with music by Jerome Kern and lyrics by
“Make a note, and you can quote me,
You were never lovelier than you are today”
This is what we should be saying about our Common, and
all our parks across the Great Republic.
Two, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” (1962) by Peter,
Paul and Mary.
“Where have all the flowers gone?
Young girls have picked them everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?”
They will only learn if we put the flowers in, not if we keep
the flowers out.
About the Author
Dr. Jeffrey Lant is known worldwide. He started in the media business when he was 5 years old, a Kindergartner in Downers Grove, Illinois, publishing his first newspaper article. Since then Dr. Lant has earned four university degrees, including the PhD from Harvard. He has taught at over 40 colleges and universities and is quite possibly the first to offer satellite courses. He has written over 40 books, thousands of articles and been a welcome guest on hundreds of radio and television programs. He has founded several successful corporations and businesses including his latest at …writerssecrets.com
His memoirs “A Connoisseur’s Journey” has garnered nine literary prizes that ensure its classic status. Its subtitle is “Being the artful memoirs of a man of wit, discernment, pluck, and joy.” A good read by this man of so many letters. Such a man can offer you thousands of insights into the business of becoming a successful writer. Be sure to sign up now at https://writerssecret.samcart.com/products/writers-secrets-package
More can be found on Dr. Lant on his author page at: http://www.amazon.com/author/jeffreylant/
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