Rick Bennett was attending a wildflower show in Humboldt County a few years ago when it occurred to him that "we've got a lot of nice wildflowers up here. We ought to get our own going."
The result is the Ruby Van Deventer Wildflower Show, which will be held for the sixth time May 10andndash;11 at the Del Norte County Fairgrounds from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Admission is free.
"There's people here that really like wildflowers," said Bennett. "We do it for the educational experience, mostly."
This year's early spring conditions mean more wildflowers than ever will be on display, including trilliums, irises and lilies. The lupine is this year's theme flower, and a series of wildflower walks will again be held in conjunction with the show.
The popular carnivorous plant master, Harold Tryon, will again be on hand. Tryon "really wows the kids" with his meat-eating plants, Bennett said.
There will also be Native American experts in medicinal, edible and utilitarian plants. All the usual attractions will be at the show, including Carol Schach's outstanding photos.
The show's opening day traditionally attracts busloads of third-graders from nine schools, and this year will be no exception. Each student gets a coloring book and a packet of seeds, and the kids also get to visit the railroad car and old schoolhouse at the fairgrounds.
Don't be afraid to visit the show that day, however, because "we devise a tight schedule so they're not all there at once," Bennett said.
Show organizers split the transportation cost of the field trips with the schools, but the budget is tight, Bennett said. While a few generous donations have been received, there have not been as many contributions as usual and there is concern about the show's financial future, he said.
To help, send tax-deductible donations to "Ruby" c/o the Del Norte Historical Society, 577 H St., Crescent City.
The very existence of the show pays tribute to Ruby Van Deventer, a Del Norte High School teacher and amateur botanist who collected more than 4,000 species of wildflowers.
"I knew her as a teacher, but didn't realize (at the time) how active she was in botany," said Bennett, also a former DNHS teacher.
"Ruby's been gone a long time, but we try to keep her memory alive with the show."
Bed frame's epilogue
About a year ago, Gasquet resident Jan Wyatt discovered her antique bed frame was missing from outside her shed where she'd left it for a future restoration project.
"It was a little cast-iron bed with brass knobs on four posts," she recalled sadly.
Recently she got a surprise in the mail.
"When I received a letter this last week from the person who took it, I was not only completely surprised by the honesty and kindness" of the sender, she said, "but also deeply touched."
The sender was anonymous, but the letter contained $100. That didn't bring Jan's bed back, but it did impress her, she said in an email to the Triplicate.
The letter "touched my heart because it showed a softness and humbleness and true regret," Jan wrote. "We cannot expect to be forgiven by God if we are not willing to forgive others."
Her response to whomever wrote it: "Thank you again for your words and the 'reimbursement,' which really wasn't necessary, because it was your honest, kind words which brought tears to my eyes. I appreciate people like you."
A happy ending, thanks to the graciousness with which Jan received and responded to the letter.
Reach Laura Wiens at firstname.lastname@example.org.