Spreading happiness with a flower

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 14, 2012

My sweet nights of sleep are usually disturbed by the annoying sound of an alarm. Even with my eyes closed, I am able to locate my phone, the source of the sound, and silence this rude interrupter of dreams.

The phone once purchased for “emergency use only” has, over a decade, evolved into my constant companion. It keeps track of my schedule, takes and stores pictures, gives me driving directions, holds my notes and identifies songs on the radio. This small device also plays a large role in communication by sending and delivering email and text messages. Oh, and sometimes I even use it to make phone calls.

Once the alarm is quieted, it’s my habit to check for text messages received after my abnormally early bedtime. Most often the messages are from either or both of my daughters, Elise and Victoria. The majority of the time, the messages alert me of changes in their regularly scheduled wake up calls. Sometimes, rarely, but sometimes, there is the unexpected. Like a photo of a daylily.

And that picture tells a story. A story that began around the time I received my first cellphone. A time when visits to my MawMaw Jello often included a walk to my Aunt Judy’s yard so that I could see what new flowers were blooming.

I was always drawn to the lilies. Maybe it was because they bore my Nanny’s name. Or because Jesus referred to them in Luke 12:27. Or possibly because they were just so big and bright and beautiful. Since each one displays its beauty for only a day, I never wanted to take their existence for granted. And I wanted some of my own.

Aunt Judy was eager to share. She pointed out the new young plants, which were forming on the stalks laden with buds yet to bloom. “When these new plants are bigger, we’ll just snap off the stalks and plant them in your yard.” So we did. I gathered many of these miniature lilies and carefully planted them in my own bare garden. The winter months provided little hope of springtime lilies, but upon the advice of Aunt Judy, I didn’t pull them up. I left the scraggly looking plants in place, unaware of what was happening beneath the cold surface. Later on, when new life began to spring up again, so did the lilies, and the first of many yellow blooms dotted my landscape.

Last summer, as Monique and I were enjoying the daylilies that lined the picket fence in my backyard, I explained their origin and asked my daughter, “Would you like some for your house?” The process of expanding Aunt Judy’s lilies to another yard was set in motion.

Just last week, Monique was excited to report the growth of the lilies. “Frank tried to pull them out during the winter, but I told him to leave them alone. I told him what you said. That we’d be tempted to yank them out because they would look dead, but to wait it out. And now they are green and growing.”

So that’s why I smiled when I opened my eyes and saw the photo of Monique’s first daylily. That text brought more than a picture. It first tapped the MawMaw Jello portion of my memories, then took me to Aunt Judy’s yard and our many conversations. That simple picture delivered a message of hope when things look dead, appreciation of the simple beauty in life and the urge to spread both the message and the flowers.

I think I’ll forward her photo and see if any one else is interested in a lily.


Ronny may be reached at rmichel@rtconline.com.