It was late February, but the weather had turned warm giving a glimpse of spring days to come. Bright, cheery yellow daffodils had made their annual return in my parents' front yard and spring's upcoming arrival got my 89 year-old dad thinking of all the things he wanted to do outside. My mom and dad have a beautiful home and yard and he still likes to stay on top of things that need to be done. With the help of children and grandchildren, things get accomplished, little by little.
He is a list-maker and tending to those cherished daffodils was top of his list. You see, those daffodils have a history. And my dad is sentimental.
The bulbs originated from the yard of the Williamston, NC home where he was born in 1930. He has told me the daffodils were planted there well before he was born. Years ago, helping maintain his own parents' yard, he dug up the bulbs and divided them bringing some to my childhood home. When my parents moved once I was grown, he did the same thing. Now, in his twilight years, their yearly emergence give him a spark of joy and energy. Last year, before we could get there to help, moving slow and resting often, he dug up the bulbs, dividing them and replanting some throughout the yard and saving a stash of bulbs to share with us. It was gratifying work and brought him joy. He asked often if we had planted them. We did. We assured him of that.
This year, once again, in the height of their beauty and before a brief snowfall wilted them a bit, those daffodils were on his mind. Inspired, he started his spring to-do list. He often spells things exactly how they sound. “DIVIDE DAFADILS” topped the list. I took the picture of the list to share with my brother, telling him, “Dad's got the daffodils on his mind again.” We agreed we should have a family day in the yard in a few weeks to knock off some of the chores.
Dad spoke of sharing some daffodil bulbs with neighbors. Relatives came to mind as well.
So much has changed from a few weeks ago.
The renewal of life in the spring is reassuring. We don't know what is to come. We do know that, if you are able, getting outside and appreciating God's creation is good for the soul.
And we know those daffodil bulbs will survive in 2020.
They will bloom again in 2021. And even the voles will leave them in peace. ~~~
Additional notes from author: Another reason to love daffodils and cultivate them in your garden: Voles will not eat them! My dad's cherished daffodils, the yellow Trumpet variety, were beginning to fade when we asked our daughter to do a photo-shoot featuring her Papa and his daffodils. They had a good time. It was Sunday, March 15th and her last close-contact visit with my parents before we started a more strict quarantine and "social distancing". Currently, we are thankful to have our son there to help them through this challenging time and you can bet his Papa is keeping him busy with that spring to-do list! Maybe my sweet 89 year-old Daddy will inspire you to get started on your own to-do list!
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Dana Warren © 2020