a life well lived

Monday, May 5, 2014

Under the tall and spreading tree... 05/05/00

  Under the tall and spreading tree,
  Birds and squirrels drink their tea;
  Each one takes a dainty sip
  From a tiny acorn cup.

My goodness, I haven't spared a thought for that verse since I learned around 1918.  But at dinner tonight, all of a sudden there it was, as fresh as the day I learned it.   

That sums up being an ancient one - can remember a poem from childhood days, but am darned if I can remember where I put that package of toilet paper!

Our neighbors' lilacs are out, in full sight and scent as I look down out of one of my open bedroom windows.  It looks so beautiful and it smells so beautiful.  It reminds me of when my sister Betty and I were little girls and we would play house with our dolls under the stand of lilacs that took up part of our back yard.  Their shelter made a perfect house for two imaginative young ladies and their "babies." 

Betty and I came down with measles at the same time and Mama tucked us away in the same bedroom, the better to keep us isolated and to keep us from being lonely.  Every day, she brought in fresh lilacs for our room.  The scent of lilacs always makes me think of happy times with Betty.

Thinking of the property at my childhood home in Baltimore puts me in mind of when my father had someone come in to till the garden before a planting. The man did not realize that he tore out a fresh peach tree sapling that my father had planted.  I was heartbroken, especially when Papa said the young tree was done for. 

It was going to live if I had anything to say about it!

With the sure fire belief of youth, I asked, "Can I have it, Papa?"  He said, "Katharine, it is not going to bloom.  But if you want it, yes, you can have it." 

Well, I replanted the sapling, carefully setting it straight and tapping down the earth around it.  My, how I fussed over that sapling, checking it for bugs and watering it.   

My belief was rewarded 100-fold – in time, each growing season we had to pick off peaches while they were green or the branches would have broken under the weight of those lush, heavy Bella Georgia peaches.

Oh, the memories that can be triggered by the sight and smell of lilacs.

Nite-nite, sleep tight, and don't let the bedbugs bite!  Love - Betty's sister

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