Tuesday proved to be about finding a purpose

Published 10:07 am Thursday, May 11, 2017

Being tall comes with some built in benefits. I can use every shelf in my kitchen and even reach items stored on top of my cabinets. I can make a contribution playing pick-up basketball, even though I have the lateral foot speed of a turtle.

I am unable to count the number of times I have been asked to help reach things when I am out and about, especially at grocery stores, usually at the request of a friendly old lady.

My height, all 6’4” of it, proved to have another use Tuesday.

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I officially became a unit of measurement.

I’ve always used my height as a way to judge how tall things are, but that was formalized Tuesday when we had to find out how tall the giant asparagus looking cactus on East Avenue is.

Post photographer Courtland Wells and I were assigned a story on Isabelle Parsons’s soaring Agave Americanas, which are commonly referred to as century plants.

In the past two weeks, two towering stalks have grown from the center of her plants, which already dominated her front yard. They’ve stopped traffic and become a must see attraction.

Parsons’s did not know we were coming, and received a surprise knock on her door. I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, but it turned out to be the type of interview that journalist dream about. Parsons was willing to talk about her plants.

She was high energy, super friendly and an overall delight to talk to.

I learned all I could about the plants from Parsons, including the fact she was joyfully waiting for the day when they will die after they finish blooming.

Courtland then had the difficult task of finding a way to frame a photo that included Parsons, her husband Willie and these two soaring plants.

He managed to succeed, but then came the issue of figuring out approximately how tall the stalks were.

They had grown past the bottom power lines, so we estimated at least 20 feet, but couldn’t be sure.

That is where a quick photo of me standing next to the plant, which Courtland took without me knowing it, and some of his Photoshop skills came in handy.

The final determination? The plants were about four Brandons or roughly 25 feet tall.

This was the moment I had been waiting for.

In a lifetime of being tall, I had finally found my purpose.

I was more then just a set of long arms and legs that could reach high shelves. I was the unit of measurement against which things were measured, and I got to write a story about a very nice lady.

Overall, a great day on the job.

Brandon O’Connor is a staff writer at The Vicksburg Post. He can reached at brandon.oconnor@vicksburgpost.com