Geraniums and marigolds were two flowers my mother couldn't
tolerate. As a kid, I tended to agree with her. They were a far cry
As the years past like sand through the hour glass, I didn't
give geraniums more than a passing thought.
While I was in France with my Army husband, I planted flowers by
our front door step. No geraniums or marigolds -- only sweet scented
While pulling weeds from my small garden one day in June, my
husband arrived home just before noon to tell me my grandmother was
ill and in the hospital. Of course, my first thought was getting
home to see her, but I was way "too pregnant" for the airlines to
allow my emergency flight to the states.
When we got word that my grandmother had passed away, I went
into false labor. Later that week, I delivered my precious daughter.
When Lorena was a year old, we were finally shipped back to
American soil. It was a bitter sweet home coming because my beloved
grandmother wouldn't be there to welcome us back. My two younger
children would never know her or be held and hugged by her.
While showing off my three children to my favorite uncle, he
asked me if I'd like a "trinket" from Grammie's jewelry box. I was
thrilled to be able to visit Grammie's house once again. I'd spent
many happy childhood hours there -- playing the piano, playing
Monopoly with Uncle Reggie, or exploring the magical upstairs of
Grammie's sea captain type house and marveling over the beautiful
hand pieced quilts and crocheted bedspreads, the oak dresser with
oval mirror, and bath tub with feet.
I loved looking from the alcove window in Grammie's downstairs
bedroom to watch fishermen as they came to sell their lobsters at my
uncle's wharf. I loved sitting at the window seat in the dining room
and looking out at the ever changing ocean as sea gulls glided
overhead making their gull noises for Grammie to toss them a tidbit.
To me, her house was truly an elegant place to be. The first time I
slept over in the guest bedroom, I felt like a princess right out of
a fairy tale.
Her house was always filled with intriguing smells -- cookies,
pies and cakes, Evening in Paris cologne in deep blue bottles, Spic
and Span, and her ever present house plants.
I coveted the Easter lilies, geraniums, and a huge, gorgeous
Christmas cactus. Grammie had had the cactus for eons, and she'd
given me many slips from it to start. Every time one succumbed,
she'd give me another and warn me again not to over water it.
When, at last, the door to Grammie's house was swung opened,
though my mind knew better, my heart expected her welcoming arms to
reach out to us and pull us into her inviting kitchen.
"Sit a spell and have a piece of pie," I could hear her say.
What I didn't expect, after her home had been closed up for over
a year, was to be greeted by the spicy scent of geraniums.
It seemed as if the house had been holding its breath all that
time, and when the door was opened, it exhaled. The powerful scent
of geranium washed over my very soul like a crashing wave from the
Atlantic at the height of a storm.
The night before Grammie's passing, a strong wind shook the
cement walled house we lived in and caused me a restless night.
The morning was peaceful, sunny and bright. When I noticed our
Spanish neighbor across the street, I commented about the howling
wind of the night before. He looked at me rather strangely and told
me he'd been up several times during the night and added in broken
English, "No Honey, calm... No wind last night."
When the news of Grammie's passing came, I wasn't surprised. I
felt the wind had been forewarning me of the sad news to come.
Had the geranium scent really lingered in Grammie's house all
that time? Or had it been tucked into the recesses of my memory
waiting for the right moment to emerge?
Whether the geranium scent was real or imagined, it spoke volumes to me.
Grammie's physical presence may be missing from my life, but the
essence of her love, like perfume from a beautiful rose, would remain
in my heart forever.
~ Kay Seefeldt ~
[ by: Kay Seefeldt, Copyright © 2005, ( birdnest @ megalink.net ) -- submitted by: Kay Seefeldt ]
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