For the first five years of my life I grew up next door to my grandmother, and then she passed away. She was a happy faced woman who greeted me and my bare feet with a hug that seemed to envelope me into her very being. I don’t actually remember much about her except that she was always so kind to me.
There was a long row of lilac trees that lined the south side of her front yard, probably eight or so, and in the springtime the air would be so sweetly pungent with their cheery fragrance that you fairly needed a spoon to breath. This is where I fell in love with lilacs. I love the bright evenly hued leaves that are shaped like hearts and I love the lively colors of each individual blossom, but most of all I love their sweet smell.
I remember fondly bounding out the front door of my home and running barefoot up the path, through the ditch to her front porch. There she would great me with all the love her little body would hold. Drying her hands on her apron she would take me by the hand as I begged her to “whistle a leaf”, and we would walk to the long row of lilacs. She would pluck off a leaf, fold it in half and somehow make that heart shaped leaf come to life in a lovely little whistle. I miss her. I miss the fact that I never really got to know her and have her in my life and in the springtime I miss her most.
I have this little yellow scooter now. I want a Harley Davidson but it has taken me 28 years of marriage to convince my husband to let me have a small scooter so my hopes are not awfully high for a “hog”. But this morning I went to run a few errands around the neighborhood and the soft lilting fragrance of lilac was in the air. I immediately thought of her..my grandmother…I thought how much she would love my family and how hard it is to let go of people that you love. And then I found something interesting–the faster I went the more pungent the lilac fragrance became! I circled the block over and over drinking in the smell of my young childhood, thinking of a woman who raised the lady I call mother. Maybe it’s because mother’s day is just around the corner or maybe it’s the scent of vintaged lilacs, but I found myself steering that little yellow scooter with just one hand as I wiped away a tear or two caused by the loveliness of lilacs and the memories of a sweet grandmother and the lady I call Mother.
Grab a spoon, breath deep and plant a memory or two.