11 May 2014

So Much More Than Bluebells

My dear late grandma surely fit the definition of eccentric. She lived in an old house which, had my parents not patched it together with some regularity, might have been considered tumbledown. Especially in her later years, she insultated herself from the world, limiting her interactions to family members and the occasional stray cats which took up residence under her porch.

To the outside observer, one might have thought she led a bleak existence. But to the contrary, she filled her days with creative pursuits --baking all sorts of cakes and pies, sewing intricate quilts, and designing and a wide assortment of stuffed animals, many with a wardrobe of whimsical clothes. She created beautiful art with chalk, watercolors, pastel crayons, and acrylic paint. Her closets were stuffed full of things which inspired her creativity -- jars of acorns, boxes of tiny snail shells, and smooth rocks gathered at the shore.

And she gardened. But being one who refused to color inside the lines, Grandma's flowers were not confined to the traditional flower bed. She much preferred a naturalized look and took great pleasure in having a yard scattered with colorful daffodils and bluebells. The unfortunate task of mowing her yard fell to my dad, and heaven help him if a few flowers were sacrificed in the course of an afternoon. Grandma could spot a missing tulip in an instant and didn't hesitate to rake him over the coals for it.

My grandma cultivated in me an appreciation of art and nature, and she couldn't wait for me to have a yard so she could share her flowers. A few years before she passed away, she gave me several clumps of bluebells. They arrived at my house wrapped in wet paper towels, and I dutifully planted them in the front garden.

That first year, they fell down flat and soon disappeared into the earth. But the next April, they were among the first flowers to bloom.

My grandma is gone now. We moved as many of her flowers as we could before her house was torn down to make way for a church parking lot. Each spring the bluebells have multiplied, and now the cheerful flowers grace the entire front of our house, reminding me of the many lessons she taught me.

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