Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
April 3, 2011
Winter is over because Sarah’s daffodils are blooming again
Sarah’s daffodils are blooming again so I know wintertime is past. The faithful flowers outside my study window are not merely daffodils; they are Sarah’s daffodils. Sarah planted them. Sarah tended them. Sarah loved them. And every year when their yellow blooms burst upward toward the sun, the face of Sarah Brown reappears in my memory.
I do not know how many daffodil bulbs Sarah planted. She loved to work in the yard. More than likely she dug up several bulbs in her daughter Dot’s yard and planted them around our cabin. As daffodils do, they have multiplied over the years. Daffodils pay a lovely dividend to the Gardner.
Sarah was my wife’s mother. She lived into her 99th year. Though she left us a dozen years ago her daffodils keep her alive in our memory. They are the first flowers to bloom as winter days diminish. Sarah’s daffodils are flourishing without any help from human hands. They seem like lovely bouquets begging to be enjoyed, each bouquet a gift from Sarah.
Daffodils are tough like Sarah was. After they quit blooming, their green stems often fall victim to our land mower. Yet as surely as the cold months come, the daffodils emerge and bloom again. Sarah was strong like her daffodils. She endured sorrow, poverty, loneliness, and fear but she always bounced back. She taught us a lot about perseverance and faith.
Though there are many different species of daffodils, for us daffodils are bright yellow blooms atop strong green stems. Yellow suited Sarah and yellow suits us. I understand that daffodil bulbs last a long time and will be around long after we are gone. Sarah left no land, no jewels, no fortune, but what she did leave breaks through the soil every year to brighten our world.
Reflecting on the meaning of her life, I marvel at Sarah’s unselfish spirit and her love of simple things. She never demanded anything for herself. She was always doing things for others. There is something inherently good about a woman who has the patience to plant daffodil bulbs that others can enjoy years after she had departed this life.
I wonder when Sarah began to love daffodils. I like to think that her mother loved them and that growing up, Sarah loved them too. Mothers have a way of passing on their love of flowers to their children and grandchildren.
Sarah never belonged to a garden club. She never invited friends over to admire her flower garden. She was a simple woman who grew up during hard times and never reached the promised land of prosperity. But she had integrity and never asked for a handout or a bailout.
She believed that people ought to work for a living. Stamina was in her bones. She could get up, prepare a breakfast for her family, wash dirty dishes, wring the head off a chicken, fix a sumptuous lunch – and still have the energy to go out in the yard and rake leaves. When the yard is laden with leaves I long for Sarah; how she loved to clean a yard!
I wish I had told Sarah when she was living how much she meant to me. Somehow, I never got around to paying her the tributes she deserved from my lips. But I hope she was listening when I went outside and thanked her daffodils for reminding me of the fine woman who gave me my precious wife.
Bloom, daffodils, bloom! When you are blooming, Sarah lives! And I remember how blessed I am. + + +