Monday, February 22, 2016

Flowers ~ my column from Sunday's paper

The sun peeped out for a few hours between rain clouds this week, and I took the opportunity to eat my lunch in the cobblestone courtyard at Bevill State where I work part-time. The sun felt warm on my face, but the wind out of the west wouldn’t let me forget it was February.

As I sat there blissing out, I noticed the flowerbeds around the courtyard were a little gnarly as they sometimes get in winter, but it made me think of my mama. She was a stickler for her flowerbeds. We lost her four years ago this week.

Before age and ill health had their way with her, she often sat near the windows in winter drinking morning coffee. If the temps rose and the sun came out in late winter, she’d be outside with her hand tools scratching in her beds.

Her beds weren’t fancy but by the time spring rolled around, they thrived with irises, roses, and daisies. She had a fig tree that stood against the south wall of her house that reached to the roof. When the fruit turned the color of a bruise, you knew they were ripe enough to eat. You could also tell by the yellow jackets that feasted on the figs that fell to the ground.

When I was a kid, we grew much of what we ate. In summer, we had fresh ripe tomatoes with every meal including breakfast.

There was a great deal of whining from us kids in late spring and early summer when the garden needed a lot of attention, and we weren’t getting benefits, but later when squash, okra, corn, peas and beans started bearing, we were all happy campers. Fried green tomatoes were a personal favorite. That was some of my early training in the subtle lessons of reaping and sowing.

The lessons were reinforced in winter when we enjoyed the vegetables we’d canned during harvest.

My favorite meal in winter was vegetable soup with a pone of cornbread.

I think the hardest time she went through during the last years of her life was in late February when the weather began to turn warmer. During the last several years, she couldn’t stay at home by herself, so she moved in with my sister Mary Lois.

On warm later winter days, Mary Lois would help her to the deck and let her sit in the sun so she could watch the birds and other critters in the yard.

Even though my mom no longer lived in her old house, I kept the grass cut and worked in the flowers during the summer months. I made the mistake of taking a picture of her flowerbeds so that she could see what was in bloom.

She was not happy with my level of care.

Note to self: No more pictures. Take her flowers, and tell her what’s in bloom.

As I sat in the courtyard this week, I thought to myself, “I bet my mom would have some advice for the maintenance man on how to care for these flower beds.”

13 comments:

  1. Somehow I like that you couldn't keep the garden to her liking. Reminds me of my mom.

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  2. Moms are always better at those things than we are. I miss my mom too.

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  3. Your mother has a great face. Very paintable.

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  6. Ahhh, that picture of mama! One could easily adopt that lady!
    I would give a bunch to have one of my mama's tomatoes for breakfast again. She could grow some of the best.

    I could see your mama preparing the flower beds, sounds like Sherry talks about her mama. SWEET!

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  7. I think we lost the art of gardening, especially in the city. I think it would be wonderful to grow the food we eat.. at least even a little :-)

    Mom's seem to be able to everything better than we do :-)

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  8. What wonderful memories to have. I am looking forward to some gardening weather.

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  9. I'm sure that your Mama took great care of her flowerbeds on a regular basis and watered when needed so maybe the results were better for her than an occasional tending to the flowerbed. I'm sure she appreciated your occasional care just the same. When plants suffer because of weeds or lack of moisture, I get inferior results.

    A beautiful photo of your mom.
    JB

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  10. oh what a sweet looking momma! She looks as if she is full of wisdom. I've never been one to know anything about caring for flowers though I think they are beautiful. My mom always had rose bushes. I also remember a garden the neighbor hood built and all worked together keeping it up. Beans and okra were everywhere!!!
    Lisa

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  11. You look a lot like your mama!!

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  12. Very precious memories! I love your mom's face! She is a sweetheart! Hard worker!

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