Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “The earth laughs in flowers.” While I was growing up, you always planted our back yard with vegetable gardens, fruit trees and grape arbors. You also kept the front and back yards colorfully bright and happy by planting flowering bushes and assorted perennial flowers, and bulbs for tulips, lilies and gladiolas. From the time I was seven, I got to choose packets of seeds and plant new colors throughout the flower beds.
After I moved you to Presbyterian Village, I emptied the house you and Dad had lived in for fifty-two years. Among your big kitchen cupboards filled with spices, plates, glasses, canisters and pots and pans, two top cupboards were filled with colorful gift vases, pottery and cut crystal vases, and my favorites: two porcelain “fancy lady” vases. We called them the “flower girls.” I remember picking summer flowers from all around the yard, filling jelly glasses and many of these vases, and setting them on tables and window ledges throughout the house.
You, on the other hand, were more like Edna St. Vincent Millay: “I will be the gladdest thing under the sun! I will touch a hundred flowers and not pick one.” Early in the morning, before you went to work with Dad at the dealership, you spent a contented hour working in your gardens. You carefully weeded around the vegetables and flowers, but instead of bringing in cut flowers, you often brought in huge Beefeater tomatoes, fresh green onions, and zucchini.
When I drive to Ft. Scott to visit you each month, I always stop by Woods’ Market to choose tempting foods from their deli. I also check their flowers and plants for something special that might make you touch the blossoms or sniff and smile. And sometimes, for a just a moment, I think you remember…