Hinmahtooyah, a server who has been at Michael’s Genuine since the beginning, is gifted with plants. You could say he’s our resident horticulturist, responsible for keeping the patio lush and brimming with flowers. This spring, he fastened the tree trunks in our main planters with orchid seedlings. Now, a couple months later, phalaenopsis, dendrobium, oncindium, vanda, ascocnda, and paphiopedilum are in full bloom.
Hinmahtooyah is Ganiengehaka and from the land of the wild onion, a city you might know as Chicago. True to aboriginies and tribes regardless of where they come from for 40 to 50,000 years, he is a healer — someone regarded as gifted from the spiritual universe.
“My parents and grandparents put me in the garden working the Earth when I was five years old. We grew rosemary and had pear, cherry, apple, and peach trees. I didn’t know what I was doing till about eight,” he quips.
Hinmahtooyah says he adopted the second restaurant job, because it offers him a venue to work with the Earth. But in many ways it adopted him. Just a couple of months after Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink opened in the spring of 2007, he noticed that the bases of decorative orchids in our bathrooms were discarded after flowering. Knowing they were still very much alive and having seen Drako from neighboring Hair Dragon salon tie them up in the trees, Hinmahtooyah went to work. Only two opened last year. What a difference a year makes.
“People keep bringing us gifts of orchids — customers, coworkers, store owners,” he adds. “Always Flowers gives them to us when they cut the flowers for arrangements. It’s a community thing.”
With other additions in the planters like fresh rocks and poincettas for the holidays, Hinmahtooyah, which means thunder rolling down mountain, has brought life back to the courtyard. Go figure.
“I don’t use the word zen,” he explains, “[but] there’s something you should know about the color green: It encourages harmony, balance, thoughtfulness, joy, and kindness. It is a healing color and always beneficial. That’s why nature is dressed in green.”