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?