08/30/04 — OPINION -- Read the directions

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OPINION -- Read the directions

By Gene Price
Published in News on August 30, 2004 1:55 PM

Some 40 years ago I learned a valuable lesson: "Read directions before starting assembly."

It was Christmas Eve and I had bought a pedal-operated riding train for my 5-year-old son, Charles.

John Lynch, now retired publisher of the Star-News in Wilmington, had just come aboard the News-Argus news staff and obligingly agreed to help me assemble the train at the newspaper office.

We did a commendable job. The assembly was almost complete. All we needed to do was install the steering wheel. After half an hour of fruitless experimentation, we read the directions:

"First, install the steering wheel as shown."

John and I barely made the reassembly before the scheduled arrival of Santa at Sleepy Creek.

That experience came to mind recently while I was planting collards in our little garden. I love collards. My wife, Gloria, likes collards. Our daughter Sue loves collards!

Recently, Gloria went to Southern States at Mount Olive to get a tray of collard plants. But she returned with only nine plants.

A few days later, I stopped by Southern States to get another tray. Eighteen plants would provide more than an abundance of collards. I paid the $3 and hurried home to complete my fall planting.

Afterwards, I was trying to readjust my back when I read the little plastic tab in the tray.

And learned that what I had just put in the ground were not collard plants. The leafy little buggers were cauliflower plants!

In my defense, I have been assured that cauliflower plants look very much like collard plants when they're small.

And besides, I had no idea there could even be $3 worth of cauliflower!