Present Ghost

Telling stories



What I found in a crack in the sidewalk

photo by Christian Widell

“If it hadn’t been for that crack in the sidewalk in Basel, you wouldn’t be here,” I will tell her.

Broken stones in front of the Swiss toy store made wide gaps, but I wanted her so badly that I almost missed finding her there in one of those spaces. I was looking in the windows, wishing I had a reason to enter and buy a toy souvenir. Just when I thought I might get one anyway, I saw the sign: Gesschlossen.

I didn’t have to say anything, and your father grabbed my hand, waiting for me to cry. But I didn’t cry because I was distracted by a little green plant sprouted from a half-inch space in the cobblestones in front of me. There you were, a tiny, delicate, and strange little strawberry about the size of my fingernail, blushing in the evening sun. You were the only one there, hanging off that singular stem busting through the sidewalk. Continue reading “What I found in a crack in the sidewalk”

Peony business grows with informal partnership

Building a legacy
Don Hollingsworth and Juergen Steininger work together to continue the legacy of Hollingsworth’s peony business that operated in Maryville from the 1990s until he sold it to Steininger in 2013. Since then, the two have formed an informal partnership by which they share experience and trade information.

MARYVILLE, Mo. — They grew up decades and an ocean apart, one just outside St. Joseph in the 1930s and one in Bavaria, Germany, in the 1970s. It might seem like an unlikely pair, but Don Hollingsworth and Juergen Steininger share a passion for innovation in cultivating plant varieties.

Throughout the 1990s until 2013, Hollingsworth operated the business on the southeast end of Maryville where he sold potted and wholesale peonies and ran an online and printed catalog.

Hollingsworth began breeding cattle in the late 1940s after studying agriculture at the University of Missouri. Early in his breeding career, Hollingsworth said he didn’t see a great enough opportunity for him to improve livestock the way he would have liked. Coming up with new plant varieties, Hollingsworth said, was more appealing.

Limited to his backyard, Hollingsworth began experimenting with ornamental perennials, but several species of flowers, such as daylilies and irises required too much money to buy into state of the art equipment for the breeding business.

“An opportunity to do peonies came down the road that didn’t cost a lot of money because the person with the stock was dispersing it and wanted the work that had gone into it continued,” Hollingsworth said. “That’s what determined what I spent my time on.”

Continue reading “Peony business grows with informal partnership”


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