Okay, Listen Here

Okay, Listen Here

Friday, January 6, 2012

New To This Tulip Tree

Hi there! It’s me, the new girl on this southern bench. My name is Lesia Flynn, and let me say, it’s lovely to be here. Thank you to Jean, Stephanie, Kathy and Cheryl for the beautiful blossoms under the tree where the fragrance tickles my nose. I do love things that bloom and tulip trees are one of my favorites. I’ll explain. . .

Growing up in a family where the women were prone to growing flowers of all kinds, it was a grand day when the next door neighbors planted, not one, but two Japanese tulip trees in their front yard. Oh! Mother thrilled over the prospect of those beautiful blossoms. I was just a kid so in my mind it was “Yea, whatever. They’re just trees, Ma!” Little did I know that they would grow to be huge towering masses of beautiful pink teacup-like displays of grandeur!

As time passed, the tulip tree house was passed from one owner to another. I got my first kiss there under those trees. Okay, well, it was my first KISS album, a gift from when I failed High School Algebra given to me by a young doctor that lived there. He seemed to think I could do better if I applied myself. I still don’t get algebra to this day. Later as the years went by, another owner became a friend to my mother after all of us children had moved away. And then another owner became the Security Watch for the neighborhood as it declined in the ways that communities do. And as the owners revolved through the doors of the house next door, the beloved tulip trees withered and faded away.

Recently, I took my youngest to visit my childhood home and to show her where I came from. The poor thing hadn’t been there since she was an infant because, you see, I’m part gypsy, moving around so much that I barely remember from whence I came myself! Sadly, the tulip trees were completely gone, as were Mother’s azaleas and hollyhocks. (Wisps of melodic phrases wrap themselves in the breeze of my head at this last sentence. I think I see the swirling winds displayed in Johnny Depp’s Chocolat blowing swiftly past me! Ha! Maybe he’s around here too!) The last remaining row of neighborhood houses stand sentinel betwixt the encroaching medical facility and the cemetery. I know, right? It makes me scratch my head too!

And somehow, after all this time, I too have developed a love for all things blooming. Mother’s green thumb came to her by way of Grannie and now it seems to be my turn. (Though, my sister has the real green thumb. Bah! Firstborns get everything!). To date, my own plantings include the Hydrangea which I blanket in pine needles for its color treatments of blue and the ever majestic Blue Beard Iris who multiplies faster than rabbits. I’m currently in search of a bright red triple Camellia that will bloom at Christmastime. Maybe someday I’ll sneak into my sister’s yard and gather a few cuttings of Mother’s heirloom roses to bring to my own grown-up home.

But today, it’s a new day, a new year. . .Happy 2012 everyone! And I’m happy to find myself sitting on this welcoming bench under a different awning of pink at Okay, Listen Here. Thanks for scootching over and making room for me, girls! And like my mother before me, I’m thrilled to enjoy the tulip tree (albeit virtual) with buds that promise to last longer than the short-lived springtime of the South.

So, what traditions did your family pass on to you? Do you have any favorite blooms? How about any fond memories underneath the canopy of a tree, blooming or not? And, oh! What new horizons do you see for yourself in this brand new year of ours?


  1. Lesia!!!! Welcome, a triple thousand times, welcome! We're elated to have you join us. Truth be told, I've been aching to divulge this information for nearly a month! Woot!

    Oh, you do know how to stroke my senses in the right place. Chocolat? Oh yes, please! More Johnny Depp. He's a fabulous essence around here. So you do not suppose wrong that he might make an appearance occassionally at Okay, Listen Here.

    Part Gypsy? Yes again, you know me well. Military brats are used to nomad lifestyles. Ergo, another thing we have in common!

    Memories of childhood are strange, aren't they? Why does nothing you revisit seem to measure up to those memories? Every time I return to a place I've been, houses seem smaller, towns run down or have experienced a major boom, and what seemed real long ago appears to be surreal. But maybe that's just because I've moved so often and lived so little in one place.

    I've got my grandfather's green thumb, thank goodness. My father was good with plants as well. Mom swears she has a black thumb. (snicker) I think she's right.

    Traditions? First kiss? Mine was long ago in Germany. Had a few good ones there. Heehee!

  2. Hi Lesia--I love your story about the tulip trees. It's too bad they no longer are in your childhood home. But memories are always in our hearts. Family traditions are traveling and making memories. I'm big on exploring the world because of my parents' example. I also have a love of all things that bloom, but did not inherit my father's green thumb. I did inherit his ability to cook and try new recipes. He taught my mom how to cook! My fondest memory about trees is the crab apple tree in my neighbor's backyard when I was a little girl. We used to have all kinds of adventures there. Sleepovers and dancing around the tree and eating lots and lots of tiny crab apples and getting belly aches.


  3. Cool memories, Christine! I remember throwing crab apples at my brother. Heehee! Glory days!

    I did forget to mention my first Kiss encounter... Baby bro got his first album (yes, the vinyl kind) when I was 17. And so the war began, musical war, that is. He played Kiss's I Want To Rock n Roll All Night And Party Everyday, while my Rapper's Delight repeated over and over. Yes, my friends. I admit my love for rap music began with the very first rap song ever.

    "With a hip hop, a hippety-hop...."

  4. Hey, Lesia!!! Happy to see you here! I LOVE tulip trees too! And I grew up in south Alabama, and there just doesn't seem to be as much color down there. I think it's just too stinkin' hot! Fall colors aren't as vibrant, and I hardly knew what a tulip tree was until I moved away. Huntsville is a great place for blooming things. And for growing a writing career, methinks! You go, all you Okay, Listen Here peeps!!!

  5. Great to see you here! We had two big pecan trees in our front yard when I was growing up. They provided shade in summer and yummy pecans in the fall, provided we could get them before the squirrels did. I spent lots of time playing under those trees and then gathering the nuts. And of course, raking the leaves. My daddy built me a playhouse in the backyard when I was about five years old. I drove past the house last summer and that playhouse is still there! My gosh it's 55 years old now -- old enough to qualify as a national historic site, right? ;-) My grandparents had the green thumbs. They grew a big garden in their back yard and we reaped the benefits of that in fresh, frozen and canned veggies. I've tried growing tomato plants at my apartment and can get a nice plant to grow, but it won't develop tomatoes. Someone said something about bees, so maybe my thumb is greener than I think. It's the bees that aren't doing their work.


  6. Welcome! My mother has been an avid gardner for my entire life so I know way more about plants and growing them than I want to. I on the other hand am a stone cold plant killer. I have even killed plants that my mother gave me saying they were impossible to kill. It is a running joke in my family that I have a black thumb!

  7. Thanks for the warm welcome everyone!

    And what great stories! I've had my share of apple fights (horse-apples, that is...Ouch!), hip-hopping (from my youngest, V), and I've killed more plants along the way than I care to admit to. Fortunately, some stayed with me.

    Thankfully, this tulip tree blooms year round and doesn't need water or a green thumb...just lots of imagination! Yay!

  8. I've done it now. Lesia is another plotter. When I told her that I seldom know what I am going to blog about until I sit down and start typing, her eyes got all bug-like. She has a list for a year. I am surrounded by them.

    I see a trend. Plotters are good gardeners, except for Stephanie. I have the worst yard in Old Decatur. They probably talk about me if they think about me at all.

    Welcome, Lesia. So glad the bench in now full!

    And will you and Kathy do my flower beds?

  9. Hmmmm.... Not sure if I classify as a plotter. I don't plan my blog posts. Perhaps that's where I go wrong. Lol!

    Jean, I'd be happy to help you with your garden!

  10. I am not a plotter either, Jean. I also fly by the seat of my pants. Nothing planned!

    I do garden and I can grow things. I've just let the hobby go in that last few years. Too much work! LOL

    Welcome Lesia!

  11. Ooh! I think gardening together would be fun!

    And just for the record, I plan, erase, scratch through, change, replan and colorize all year long! So, I'm not sure what that makes me...maybe a planter? And here we talk of gardening. Sigh. Nonetheless, I have planning (and planting) etched into my DNA.

  12. See, I don't so much need someone to help me with my gardening as to do it. I just can't be dirty and hot. Or wet. Maybe Stephanie and I will sell and I can hire it done.

    Cheryl! I didn't not know that about you. I thought for sure you were a planner.

    Roll Tide. And I mean it.