It began early Saturday with a look-see at Facebook; my brother had posted a photo of his wife’s glorious bed of daffodils in Gerald. The post included a poem our mom recited when Gloria went to visit her, a bunch of daffodils and granddaughter Ava in hand.
Mom just had her 92nd birthday. She’s a wonder and a blessing, and has a mind like a steel trap. She learned “Daffydowndilly” as a schoolgirl in England. It was written by A. A. Milne, best known for his book “Winnie-the-Pooh.”
She wore her yellow sun-bonnet,
She wore her greenest gown;
She turned to the south wind
And curtsied up and down.
She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbour:
‘Winter is dead.’
As my brother said, the last line might be questionable this year.
Yes, the daffodils may have danced in the fields a bit too soon, but as author Sherri Rinker, who visited Washington for Family Reading Night said on our drive from St. Louis to Washington last Friday, “Perhaps we needed them.”
How true her words.
Sherri, who’s from Chicago, arrived a bit shaken after reading an article from the New York Times written by another children’s author we know, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, our guest for Family Reading Night in 2010. I spent some time with Amy, and we made an instant connection. She is a warm, kind and giving person. Also from Chicago, Amy is immensely talented and has written numerous books for children and adults.
Copies of her picture books are in our schools because they’re Book Buzz Picks, “Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons” and “Duck Rabbit.” Another personal favorite is “Little Pea.”
Perhaps you’ve read about Amy in People magazine or seen her on “The Today Show.” The story of her final days has gotten lots of publicity because of an essay she wrote about her husband and their love affair, “Perhaps You’d Like to Marry My Husband.” Amy is only 51 and has ovarian cancer. I’m sickened by this awful news, her death imminent.
Amy’s calling card was a bright yellow umbrella, and on Saturday morning I came across a picture of her in a yellow shirt surrounded by daffodils, this as snowflakes bowed the heads of those I hadn’t rescued from our backyard.
After I took a photo of the vase of sunshine in our kitchen, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch was waiting to be read. Tea in hand, I began, flipping through the front page, working my way through the news to “Faith Perspectives,” a column written by a minister I follow.
He wrote of daffodils and of the recent loss of his 94-year-old mother, a woman who weathered the World War II years, who was sharp right up to the end. Pastor Keating, of Woodlawn Chapel Presbyterian Church, wrote about daffodils, how we place them in the ground in the fall, “unsure of what might happen. We just hope for the best.”
And then they push forth through the soil. “Resilience is more than keeping a stiff upper lip,” he writes. “It is more than just being optimistic. It’s knowing that hope emerges from the crucible of struggle … this sort of resiliency is an essential aspect of spirituality.”
Call it coincidence, call it serendipity, call it fate, all signs pointed to a subject for this week’s “Sights.” Daffodils. They’ve always been my favorite flower, even when their faces are frosted with snow. It seems we have much to learn from them.