Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Thank you, Fred and Lena

Frederik Meijer was born in 1919, when John's father was three. Both were raised in poor Dutch families in West Michigan. Both opened grocery stores as adults. But as the chain groceries came to the area, John's dad was done in by them; he went into insurance sales but financial success eluded him. Fred Meijer shook his fist at the chain stores and was determined to do them one better. He eventually did by dotting the Midwest and far beyond with his Meijer super-stores. One man became a millionaire many times over the other did not. I'm married to a son of the latter. But there's no feeling of envy at all. Fred and his wife Lena, now both deceased, have given us a spectacular 132-acre world-class park, and today, with people staying away due to the cold weather, it almost felt like it belonged to us alone. A reporter from the Wall Street Journal noted that there's "nothing like Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park this side of Kroller-Muller Museum and Sculpture Park in the Netherlands."  

We closed the Gardens early and arrived before 2 pm to enjoy a wonderful lunch at the cafe before going through the turn-table with our membership card. I took a lot of pictures, simply unable to resist the orchids. These sassy flowers shamelessly flaunt their dazzling blooms. So I snapped away. From the conservatory we went outside in the brisk biting air to hike the vast park and enjoy the sculptures, every style from traditional and abstract to  stately and whimsical.