Last Saturday, Michele and I volunteered a couple of hours at the San Francisco Orchid Show. Or, more accurately, I volunteered us both to help man -person? people? – the Succulent and Cactus Society booth at the 59th Annual Pacific Orchid Exposition – Show and Sale at the Fort Mason Center in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
The Golden Gate National Recreation Area is a federally run urban park made out of an old Army base. This is not the sort of thing that a private party would ever do. In a gross over generalization, I would say that the private sector is great at innovation, at solving problems, at seeing opportunities, but the private sector really sucks at providing for the public good. If this land had been sold to the highest bidder, it would not be a green area at the edge of San Francisco, but the rows of houses would just continue to the water.
So, because of the Federal Government turned the land into an urban National Park, I am able to go to a plant show in a huge building that was originally built to load Soldiers and Marines onto ships to be sent to war against the Japanese. There are three buildings and each is a huge open space with giant garage doors lining each side wall and, now, they are a public resource. It makes me proud to be an American and very happy that I live near by. As an aside, what an unhappy and scary experience that must have been: taking a train from a training facility to a giant warehouse; waiting and waiting until it is time to get on a ship – say the West Point AP23 with 7,978 other "passengers" – expecting that, when you get off the ship, it would be to land on some previously unknown Pacific island killing ground. End aside.
Now the open space is filled with orchids and people admiring the orchids, and music and enjoyment. In a slightly ironic twist – a large portion of the admirers are Asian, or gay, or Asian and gay. Maybe that is why the Republicans are so anti-government; Orchid People just aren't their demographic.
All pictures taken by Michele with her iPhone (after I forgot my camera.)