A cool front blew through town yesterday bringing rain, winds, and an overnight low of 62 degrees. By Sunday the rain was over and conditions were perfect to take a short ride to visit Duke Gardens. It was partly cloudy but Kat took some magnificent pictures. Most of them were in the Asian Garden section but a few were in the primary floral center of the 60 acre site. Her photographs are the story.
Duke Gardens were funded by gifts of inherited family money, most of which came from the long, highly profitable run of American Tobacco Co. Millions of loyal customers addicted to Lucky Strikes or Pall Mall (the first king-sized cigarette) indirectly funded all this beauty. Many paid with their health as well, my grandmother, Big, Aunt ‘Ree, and Kat’s dad Dave Bear were just three of the millions of names. None of the three I knew ever got to see Duke Gardens.
Kat and I and our kids have seen them, not to mention that the hospital established with smoke money has saved my life twice. Sometimes life just ain’t fair, but now and then the rich and infamous put some of their fortunes to great use. Duke University, Gardens, and Healthcare make that list. Duke Power? Not so much. Pigs will fly before you see a truly altruistic electric company!