Spread a little joy Wednesday by celebrating Good Neighbor Day

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 4, 2000

One year ago, Morton’s Flowerland owner Brenda Zerby and her employees were busy handing out dozens of roses so that the recipients, in turn, could give them to others to recognize Good Neighbor Day.

But it turned out that Zerby was the one who got an unexpected show of goodwill that


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Local insurance agent Doug Nigreville, who was standing in line for roses, offered on the spot to co-sponsor the next Good Neighbor Day along with Zerby.

&uot;I was just so impressed that someone would do something this nice for someone else … with no strings attached,&uot; Nigreville said.

Nigreville’s involvement means that this year, the Franklin Street florist will have at least 2,400 roses to give away starting at 8 a.m. Wednesday, which will be twice as many as last year.

But there’s a catch — each person who receives a dozen roses must sign a pledge to keep only one rose, giving the others to 11 other people in recognition of Good Neighbor Day.

Good Neighbor Day, which has been recognized in Natchez this year by a proclamation of Mayor Hank Smith, was actually a Mississippi invention.

Brook Jacobs of Greenbrook Flowers in Jackson started the annual event, now sponsored by nationwide florist network FTD, in 1994 as a way to promote friendship and goodwill.

Zerby and her husband, Blair, who friends of Jacobs, joined in the next year, giving more than 800 roses in 1995 alone.

&uot;I didn’t expect so many people to come out,&uot;&160;Zerby said. &uot;I had to go to the back to get more (flowers).&uot;

Last year, 1,200 roses were given out in the first 22 minutes of the event.

For Zerby, another remarkable part of the event has been hearing from people who got a needed boost from receiving a flower.

&uot;One policeman had given roses to people he stopped in Morgantown,&uot;&160;Zerby said.

&uot;A lady gave roses to shut-ins in her neighborhood, and I&160;got calls from them, too, saying ‘You’ll never know how much getting that flower meant to me.’&uot;