We were minding our own business, wandering along the flower-lined paths. The three of us girls took the time to smell the proverbial roses, gasp at the bevy of tulip varieties, and – for lack of a better word – frolick in the gardens. We had just rounded the corner between a sea of red stems, across the trail from pink-and-yellow florals, and were giddy with the overstimulation of those hundreds of colors, varieties, styles, and types of tulips.
“Hey girls! Hey GIRLS!”
At first I thought he was talking to someone else, then I HOPED he was talking to someone else. He sounded gruff, almost even grumpy, and wore the neon vest of the garden guards.
What had we done wrong?!?!
“Girls! Your husbands are out here waiting for you. They’re being so patient, but how much longer are you going to make them wait?”
He had a slight twinkle in his eye, and then guffawed.
“Those poor men. Just a’waitin’ on their women.”
We bantered back and forth for a moment, then I peeked around the exit gate to see what he was talking about.
Sure enough. our incredibly patient menfolk were crouched on the wooden liners that created the garden bed borders. While they sat patiently, cars were whizzing past, tulip-goers were walking in and out, and the gate keeper stared accusingly at me while pointing at those three poor souls.
I didn’t tell him that the boys had already seen their fill of tulips over at the other field we’d already visited, I didn’t tell him that the three of us couples were penny pinching royalty and didn’t want the boys to pay to see something they wouldn’t fully enjoy, I didn’t tell him that a trip to the tulip festival hadn’t been their idea in the first place but they were glad to let us enjoy it. I didn’t tell him how much we valued those boys and their patient waiting.
But I DID tell him that we’d not make the boys wait too much longer. And we didn’t.
The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is, indeed, as impressive as their marketing gurus claim. RoozenGaarde is showcase to the largest tulip bulb grower in America and apparently the Roozen family has been growing bulbs in Holland and the USA since the 1700s. Jiminy! I found the $5/person admission price to be completely reasonable for the vastness of the fields, the selection of tulips on the display, and the large selection of colors, styles, and deliriously gorgeous flowers. If we’d known better, I would’ve gone earlier in the month — by the time we arrived at the end of April, several of the tulip fields had already been chopped down and the daffodil fields were browning. Still impressive, yes, but not quite as impressive as it would’ve been a week or two earlier.