Jim Eikner, well-known Memphis Public Broadcasting celebrity, actor, artist, and an active participant in “life’s community ” is our newest contributor. Welcome Jim!
In the mid-1990’s I was selected for a television commercial, in which I would portray a hardware store employee. The commercial was for Trustworthy Hardware Stores, and I was the Trustworthy Hardware “Problem Solver”; an unusual choice, because I cannot be depended upon to know a chisel from a screwdriver. Nevertheless, the commercial was to be shot in Waseca, Minnesota, at the first Trustworthy Hardware store, in celebration of a significant birthday of the company. The spot would be shown on national television during the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament.
We reported to Minnesota in a relatively mild week in February. I noticed something about the area, the landscape, that I felt was different from my Memphis, Tennessee home. We had a pleasant experience in the four days we were in Minnesota, near the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, but I kept having this nagging impression of a difference from my Southland, which I could not identify.
It was not until I was winging back into Memphis International Airport that it struck me with great impact. It was the TREES. The Memphis trees were stretching gracefully and welcomingly as I looked down. Then I visualized the Minnesota trees. They looked spent and tired and gaunt and holding onto the earth with white knuckle roots, obviously saying, “God, we made it through another winter! I don’t know how many more I can take in this wintry tundra!” As my plane touched down gently and I was immersed again among trees with warm southern charm, I thought, “Vive la difference! I love the trees of home.” – Jim Eikner