Monday, September 07, 2015

218.7 - Man’s sunflower tribute to deceased wife

Man’s sunflower tribute to deceased wife

After all that I needed something lighter, gentler. And so we have this, a story I wanted to tell about something I wish I could have the chance to see.

You have to take Wisconsin state road 85 a few miles southwest of Eau Claire to find it. By all accounts, route 85 is a pretty road, going through farm country and often lined with fields of corn or soybeans. But at for now there is something different: a strip of sunflowers, 60 feet wide and four-and-a-half miles long.

They were planted by Don Jaquish as a tribute to his wife Babbette, who died last November from multiple myeloma. "She always loved flowers, but sunflowers were her favorite," he said.

The tribute crosses five farms. Neighbors opened up their land, telling Jaquish to pay whatever rent seemed fair.

What makes this even better is that the seeds will be harvested and sold as bird seed under the name Babbette's Seeds of Hope with a portion of the proceeds going to support hospitals, research, and patient advocacy with regard to cancer. This actually was Babbette Jaquish's idea and now stands as her legacy - and her face is printed on every bag of the seeds. Which may not have been her idea, but it was her husband's, whose loving tribute to her memory is a thing of true beauty.

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