My morning routine is walking Annie at a forest preserve. It wasn't until she
became blind that I was able to do this. Prior to losing her sight, she would
incessantly bark at other dogs passing by ... soooo embarrassing! She would constantly be pulling to get into the brush, being driven by some scent that wafted in her direction. So I gave up. Now? Once she gets going, these walks lift her spirits and it's a pleasure to be her exercise partner!
As we walk down the trail, I witness the beginnings of fall.
The foliage is alive with plants that bloom at this time of year. And as my eyes dart from side to side, I see one particular plant that reminds me of the story my mother told me long ago.
Mother was a recent newlywed, married to the boy she met in college.
Once he was released from active duty, after WWII, they settled down in
their first home... a small New England Cape Cod. My dad would head off
to the new business he had started and mother would be left at home to
make her own life. She had met a few neighbors and decided the best
way to develop deeper friendships was to invite them over to her home for
lunch. This particular day she invited her neighbor, Bunny.
In the morning, mother busied herself in the kitchen preparing their noonday meal.
As was the time back then, I'm sure she made either a tomato aspic or some sort of jello mold to go along with the rest of the meal.
She set the dining room table with her wedding china .... dinner plate, salad
plate... cut glass water goblet, and of course, a coffee cup and saucer.
Her sterling silver and linen napkins were the finishing touches to an elegant
setting, fitting for special company! One thing was missing, though. She
needed a centerpiece! As money was tight, she couldn't afford to rush out
to the florist to have them create something. There had to be another
solution. Pondering her dilemma, she gazed out the kitchen window and there
it was! Quickly, she gathered a bouquet of bright colored flowers, arranged them in a vase, and set them on the table. She beamed with pride!
The doorbell rings, and it's Bunny! They quickly get to chatting back
and forth, tickled at getting to know one another. However, it soon becomes
apparent that Bunny is not feeling well. She starts to sneeze. Her eyes
start to water. She apologizes as this seemed to have come on suddenly.
And for no apparent reason. It wasn't until mother walks her into the dining
room that it all becomes crystal clear as to what has created Bunny's symptoms.
"That's the problem!", exclaims Bunny. "I'm allergic to Golden Rod!"
Mother looked from the bouquet.. to Bunny.. and back to the bouquet.
She was left speechless. She had no idea that the pretty,yellow flowers were
Golden Rod, nor that it could cause allergic reactions for some people. (I now
see that my being a Garden Club dropout should not surprise me!).
Just as mother starts to apologize for her faux pas, she looks to see that
Bunny's tearing was now coming from fits of laughter! No need to be
embarrassed.. for her, it was just down right funny! The bouquet was
tossed out and Bunny and mother ended up spending the afternoon enjoying,
not only a fabulous lunch, but, more importantly, each other's company!
Decades may change, but the way women make friendships hasn't. I'm
reminded of that each fall when the Golden Rod blooms. And mother's
story is one that makes me smile each and every time!