Throughout the month of March, I am participating in the Slice of Life Story Challenge. I am happy to co-host this event with the team at Two Writing Teachers. Everyone is welcome!
I walk into the house and instantly notice the smell of lily. I haven't smelled it in the house for a long time. Clare is allergic which is one reason to stop buying them. She's away now. Garth has a tendency to brush up against them, especially when he's wearing a white shirt. Another reason not to buy them. This lily is wisely positioned away from the line of walking traffic. Most of all, they were my dad's thing which may be the true reason I haven't brought myself to buy lilies.
"Where'd the lily come from?" I ask my mom.
"Bruce brought them to me," she says. Bruce is her financial planner. He does stuff like that. "He had to drop something else off, and he said he was at the garden center buying lilies for his wife, and he thought he'd buy some for me too. Wasn't that nice?"
It was. And it also brought floodgates of memories. For Dad, springtime meant trips to the farmer's market before the sun came up, especially when the stands were full of hyacinths, daffodils, and lilies. If he could, he'd talk one of us into going with him. Then the trip would include a stop for coffee and a visit to the donut stand. Even for someone like me who doesn't like donuts, warm ones are tough to resist. Dad liked the coffee cake better than the donuts-- the one with the thick streusel on the top. Those coffee cakes... he could also buy them at the local bakery, and when he was dieting he'd allocate himself a quarter a day. He savored his perfect squares of cake and then found an excuse to make a return visit to the bakery. If anyone wanted a square, he'd share, but mostly we didn't. They were too sweet for everyone except Dad.
I'm working hard at keeping my focus because I've already strayed from the moonlit visits to the farmers' markets and into some of my father's habits. I want to keep writing and remembering him... his running, wine-making, guitar learning, fly-fishing, book writing, bread baking, German speaking, scotch drinking-- and his commitment to being a great doctor.
I'll rein myself in, and I'll return to the lilies. At this time of year, he'd show up at our homes with pots of fragrant lilies. If we weren't home, we knew he'd been there.
I wish he'd been here.