That following Sunday I headed out the door after lunch. Hubby decided to stay home and nap, as he sometimes gets bored on my picture taking outings. It can get kind of old waiting fifteen minutes for me to take 400 pictures of grass. Besides, his sore foot still prevents him from walking as much as he wants. With my little map in hand, I hit the road and drove and drove and drove on the back roads of southern Illinois until I got close to the farm. This place is way out in the sticks. And I do mean the sticks. It’s dueling banjo territory, where the houses are few and far between. As I got closer, and the roads got more narrow and rustic, I started to get worried. What on earth was I doing, wandering around in the woods, trying to find the farm of a man I didn’t really know? What if he’s a serial killer, I thought. When I first saw the little dirt lane that leads to his property, I drove by it because I thought surely that couldn’t be it. It was overgrown, and the only marker was a big Keep Out sign. When I read the directions again, I realized that was the right spot, so I turned around and went back. Now, the first time I drove by it there were two cars parked there. When I returned, there were none, but I could see the man standing in the lane, waving me down. Great, he’s the only one there, I thought. Warning bells were going off in my head, and my mind flashed to that scene from the movie Patch Adams where his girlfriend arrives at the house of the psycho guy that kills her. However, the lure of 50,000 daffodils was a wee bit stronger than the warning bells, so I pulled in slowly. Park where you can pull out easily if you have to flee the scene, Hula, I told myself. I rolled my window down, and the man was as nice as he was the day I met him, so I decided to test the waters and get out. Hubby would have died if he had known how desolate it was out there. The gentleman very nicely showed me around, while I ignored the fact that he was in pajama pants. He gave me the lay of the land, told me he was going to go back to mowing and that I could roam around as long as I pleased. I got my camera gear out of the car and started shooting. For the first thirty or so minutes I kept my eye on him and stayed fairly close to the van. I had left it unlocked with my keys in my pocket, so I could get in it quickly if I had to. I started to relax a little, but I still kept thinking that he could kill me, drag me into the national forest that butts up against his property, and that no one would ever find me. This is how people die, Hula, I said to myself. I also decided I should probably work on getting my concealed weapons permit if I’m going to continue driving around the back roads and woods by myself.
Anyhow, the man continued mowing, left me alone and pretty soon I got over my fear of being stabbed and buried in the woods. I shot pictures for about an hour because the daffodils? Stunning. There were big ones, little ones, yellow ones and white ones. He had all kinds, and they truly were beautiful. They were everywhere. He’s just a nice fellow who wants to share the beauty of his land, I realized. Near the end of my visit, he shut off the mower and offered me a soda while he took a break. By that time, I had worked my way close to his cabin. As we chatted away, I happened to glance down and about twenty feet away from me, I spied the body of a man sticking out from under his porch. “OH MY GOD, HE IS A SERIAL KILLER AND I’M GOING TO DIE NOW!!!!,” my brain screamed. “Don’t panic, Hula. Be calm. Don’t let him know that you’ve seen the body. Just ease out of there and RUN!!!” As he chatted about a particular type of daffodil, I let my eyes wander behind my sunglasses to the body under the porch and realized it was a fake body, something likely set up at Halloween. I squeezed my insides to keep from peeing on myself, and wrapped up the conversation as calmly as I could. I signed his guest book, as he requested, leaving off my address and phone number and slid out of there like Kevin Federline on a one night stand. With 500 photos of daffodils. They were gorgeous, truly. Here are a few pictures to get an idea of what his property looks like. The floral close-ups I’ll post Sunday. Right after I sign up for that weapons course.