The Story of Us
* The following has been updated to include the bio information of John Castro. June 14, 2021
When the webmaster said that we needed to write an “About Us” for the new South Murvaul Succulent (S.M.S.) site, no one knew from what direction exactly it should be tackled. We considered using the metaphor of the individual human experience being the same as the lone saguaro growing in inhospitable lands. Our first attempt was far too scholastic. Our next attempt, too sophomoric. So we zoomed with John Castro, Senior International Gardening Correspondent for S.M.S., and explained our situation of needing a satisfactory document that describes who we are.
“What do you have so far?”, he questioned.
Thomas, our Marketing Director, replied “Hey John, Tom here, we have ‘Dim and bleak’, an idea about Eliot’s ‘The Wasteland’, and something about ‘solitary bleached bleakness like the landscape from a Sergio Leone film or a novel by Cormac McCarthy’. That’s about it.”
There was a long pause. “What’s wrong with you guys?”, John said. “You’re trying too hard. Just explain why you’re doing this nursery. Geez.”
“Soooo… nothing about beauty in the bleakness?”,Tom clarified.
Saying nothing, John looked closely into the camera and then ended his feed.
The four of us, Samantha, Seth, Savanah, and Thomas, all being avid fans and growers of various and sundry plant varieties, after a month of consideration, met in Apache Junction, Arizona for a weekend getaway and to finalize the details of our new succulent nursery enterprise.
Over lunch, we organized a basic business structure and the following was agreed upon: Samantha, the attorney, would take care of all legal filings and paperwork. Seth, the REALTOR, was to handle the website and the “writing team”. Savanah, the entrepreneur, would hammer out the details with our new succulent growers/business associates, and Tom would get the lunch check and agreed to be marketing director and faceman of Colorado operations.
And now, less than three months later, we are writing this “About Us” and preparing to pacingly bring forth our retail niche creation in the form of www.SouthMurvaulSucculents.com.
Our headquarters is decidedly near the sands of the shore of Lake Murvaul in east Texas. We acquired silent interest in a succulent growing operation in Colorado as well as with another growing nursery with multiple locations in Texas. While the majority of our products are allocated and shipped to other retail nurseries throughout the states, we offer an amount of our available products on the S.M.S. website.
The four of us believe and think this will be an interesting and fun enterprise that will serve as a testbed for other current and future endeavors. Email or message any of the four of us— you can even send a message for Senior International Gardening Correspondent, John Castro— we will see if we can get it to him. He has been known to respond to the occasional query.
...like the beauty and bleakness of some Sergio Leone film.
All the Best,
— The Crew
John Castro Bio
- May, 2021
Knowing my longtime agent would not approve of this venture, mainly because it might not look good for my professional image and because there is no money in it for him, I am thus writing and operating under my nom de guerre; John Castro isn’t my legal name— at least not in the U.S.
I know Seth Jones by way of one of his family members. It was in the mid-1980’s when I was doing research on a piece concerning a group of Cuban freedom fighters who were loosely based out of New Orleans during the post-Bay of Pigs era of the mid-late 1960’s. Through my research I made contact with a source— because of that source, some thirty five years later, I am writing this small-bio. Life and time are certainly circuitous.
As far as the other three (Savannah, Samanatha, and Tom), I’ve never met them. Though I have spoken with all of them on the phone once or twice and they seem like good and intelligent people. I think one of them is an attorney in Austin. Another is in Colorado. And the third is a government contractor out of Maryland or the Midwest (depending on what account you hear)— personally, I always steer clear of anyone that identifies as being a “government contractor”.
Concerning myself, I don’t have much say. I was born in Texas and I currently live in Texas. I have been a professional journalist for forty years and I have been in semi-retirement for the last few of them. I mainly operated as foreign correspondent for the major news and print networks, primarily operating out of the foreign bureau offices. From the Sandinistas to Noriega to Grenada in 1983, I operated in Central and South America. I even found myself in Nairobi for a few years and the Middle East during the time directly leading up to and after the occupation of Kuwait and the air campaign of the Gulf War. After September 11th, 2001, I again found myself scattered throughout the Middle East.
I am enjoying my somewhat retirement. I work in my greenhouses, attend the occasional conference, and even write the occasional news or magazine article.
And my old friend and editor, Max Perkins, has agreed to guest edit, from time to time.
Shoot me an email if you have any ledes or story ideas.