May 18, 2017
Do you ever wonder who will care for the things you love after you're gone? I suppose most folks naturally assume their offspring will. Maybe, but maybe not. Having no spawn of my own, I do wonder.
I wonder about the younger generation of my own family on their good days. Let's not delve into my thoughts come a bad day.
I clearly remember my great-grandmother, Mary Ellen. She was of the old Church of the Brethren in Christ that got sucked into the Evangelical United Brethren which in turn was consumed the Methodists to become the United Methodist we know today. She always wore the traditional small white head covering, even under her sun bonnet. I well remember those sun bonnets, too. She had quite a collection, some pieced from leftover quilting fabric. Those patchwork bonnets were worn out in the garden.
Grandma had a large vegetable garden. She canned and froze everything. I was probably about six when I learned how to make jelly from wild elderberries I'd helped harvest. Every Saturday morning, my grandparents would take my great-grandparents to the city market where they had a booth, and she'd sell canned goods, jams, jellies, quilts, and sun bonnets to the "city folk."
Interspersed through and around the vegetable garden were her flowers. My great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother traded roots, bulbs, and cuttings all the time. It's thought Mary Ellen brought the small yellow iris home from the city market, probably acquired in a trade with another merchant.
Today, I'm the last member of the family standing to have these iris. I've offered starts to the younger generation with no takers. I suppose it's difficult to be thrilled about an old tiny iris with the abundance of large, fragrant varieties today. Never mind these heritage iris are mold, mildew and worm resistant when the newer ones are not. And I suppose it's hard to be enthused about a gift from the garden of a woman you didn't know.
But a flower is all the legacy from Mary Ellen I have to offer. You'll have to excuse me if I cherish it.