The Ladies Page

COUNTRY ECHOES


| May/June 1976



We have cumbersome snow banks encircling us on every side as I write this column in early February. Can I instantly project myself into May, I ask? And June? Why not? I saw the first brave Horned Larks seeking for grit along our roadsides recently. The activity of our flamboyant pair of Cardinals, six perky Blue Jays, our suet-loving Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers, and our jaunty gray and white Juncos are a constant joy. And to these add six pert Tree Sparrows, some busy Nuthatches, along with clouds of House Sparrows plus one cross old starling, and you have a picture of our much visited bird feeder. They are reminders of all the birds yet to return in the spring.

My mind marches ahead to an anticipated 1976 garden. What will our yards produce beside the staple vegetables which keep us eating? I would recommend to every young gardener the planting of a suitable section reserved for memories. As the years pass this becomes ever more interesting, especially when certain plants become irreplaceable.

Some of my prize tulip bulbs were purchased at a hardware store in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Our eldest son was in the Paratroopers at one time and was stationed at Fort Campbell when we visited him. On a sunny Saturday afternoon we drove to the nearest town to absorb some local color and flavor. This was about twenty years ago, but each spring I am greeted with bright membories of that day. Paul came in first man that weekend in spot jumping and hit the sound truck as he came down. He put a dent in the fender with his body and was limping rather painfully for the duration of our visit.

My fern-leafed peony is growing into a beautiful specimen of plant life. The root came from a most vociferous lady whom our growing children dubbed 'The Talky Lady.' I'm not sure I can recall her name either. She has passed on now but she comes vibrantly alive each spring when her rare gift breaks forth from fat vermilion buds.

There is another perennial which explodes into a bright yellow specimen each year. This one I can't really identify, so it adds mystery to my garden. I dearly loved my neighbor who gave me a piece of her root. Our viewpoints on religion were quite different, however, but our shared plant never seemed to mind.

Next to the Garden Heliotrope grows a lovely semi-double cerise rose which originally came with early settlers from Pennsylvania. A gracious lady from this family shared it with my mother. She was my ideal of what a Christian lady should be. It is a thrill to have one of her roses in remembrance of her sweetness and piety. My one regret is that it has no fragrance.