Stories Told by Flowers


I do love week end mornings at the rabbit patch.  Though sometimes, I will sleep a few minutes later, often, I don’t.  I like the way morning looks, and I want to watch it.  I want to hear it too.  No other time of day looks and sounds like morning. On week ends, I do not miss the song of  the mockingbird nor startle the sparrows.  I see the light change, gently and declare, again, that the sun measures time, more beautifully than any clock.

There has been a lot of wind, as of lately.  The pines are whispering, as I write this.  The sycamores are donned with fluttering, , tiny leaves, the pecans too-but the oaks are as bare as they were in December.  The azaleas have a few blooms as does the dogwoods- I am hoping they wait for Easter to come in to their glory.  Mama and daddy have a yard full of azaleas and dogwoods.  Their yard is a mass of soft colors now.   It makes folks driving by, want to slow down, when they round the curve, where my parents live.  Mama and Daddy turned a pasture, into a garden.

My younger sister, Delores, remembers daddy digging young trees from the woods to plant in the yard.  The woods, back then, was the “garden store”.  Everybody saved seeds and shared them.  Women were in the habit of rooting cuttings from flowering bushes.  Every daughter had “something from mama in her yard” as well as a great aunts’ or a kind neighbor.  In the spring, a visit to someones’ house, meant a walk around the yard to admire whatever was blooming.  There was always a story told about every flower.  “This one came from Aunt Elsie, who lived “over the river” and made the best cobblers.”  was a typical explanation of a flowers’ origins.   I dreaded the walks as a child.  Some explanations took a long while, but I heard the stories in my childhood of those before me, told by those who remembered- and now, in the spring, I hold those accounts fondly and dearly.   I do know, that when I find a smaller rabbit patch, I will take  some of my grandmothers tiger lilies, running vinca from my other grandmother and a rose of Sharon from my Aunt Carolyn.  

My aunt Carolyn loved hard work.  She was fearless of chores of any sort.  The rabbit patch offered her many opportunities to show off her skills.  When the family gathered here, she would soon go missing.  It was highly likely that she was cleaning a stable or raking.  She almost set a barn on fire once, burning a stump, just a few feet away.   Grandmama stayed in bed the last few months of her life.  The family would gather here to visit.  I was out in the garden picking something   to cook for lunch when Aunt Carolyn came to me and asked what I was going to do about all the apples that needed picking.  That year, there  was a bumper crop. I told her I just could not preserve them this year, with all that was going on.  I came in the kitchen about thirty minutes later.   Five women were peeling apples to go in the freezer.  Aunt Carolyn had organized and recruited  every aunt and cousin there,  to join  in her mission.  

It is still too early to plant-no matter what is forecasted.  I do not plant before mid-April, at the earliest.  However, it is not too early to dream about scented geraniums and my favorites, “Sweet Williams”.   I love irises too, especially the pale blue ones at the rabbit patch.  They look like a water color when they bloom, and that time is not so far away.  Some of them will have to go with me, if I ever move, too.  My first friend at Farm Life, Miss Sylvia gave me the irises . . .along with the The Farm Life Cookbook, which is my favorite collection of recipes.  Miss Sylvia’s funeral was just this past Monday.  When the irises bloom, I will remember Miss Sylvia, who fed the widows of the community,  took them to Dr. appointments-and  drove them to get their hair done, for as long as she was able.

In the “Quiet Garden”, there is a  pink “lady banks” rose.  It usually blooms on Mothers’ Day.  The little pink blossoms cover the fence, and spill into the grass.  I am rooting a piece of that now.  Miss Peggy gave me that rose almost a decade ago.  Miss Peggy always had a pretty lawn, when I was growing up. She lives a few hours away now in a facility of some sort.  Mama talks to her on the phone, and says she is doing well.  Her  eighty-eighth birthday was in March.

There is enough chill in the air today, to warrant a pot of chili.   I may not concoct another pot til October.   It is simmering now and the kitchen smells of it.  Cash and Christopher are sleeping together, on their blanket.  Moon Shine is outside attacking  unsuspecting twigs and leaves.  The wind makes them very interesting for a naughty kitten.

Dear Diary, this is why I love weekend mornings.  Hours pass and do not feel snatched.  I have time to remember and wish. . . and I have time to write the “stories told by flowers.”