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, dividing and replanting them, and decided to bring some bulbs back to plant at my childhood home. When my parents moved once I was grown, he did the same thing, bringing those daffodils to their retirement home. 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!
5/22/21 - 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, 2020 and her last close-contact visit with my parents before we started a more strict quarantine and "social distancing". We were thankful to have our son there to help them through the challenging months of 2020 and you can bet his Papa kept him busy with that spring to-do list! Maybe my now, 90 year-old Daddy will inspire you to get started on your own to-do list! Dad thoroughly enjoyed watching his daffodils bloom again in the spring of 2021.
1/31/23 - Dad is 92 and "feeling his age" as he says. He is looking forward to the bright yellow daffodil blooms that he can see so well from the bay window of my parents' den. They are a first sign of spring's upcoming arrival with the promise of more beauty to come.
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Dana Warren © 2020