Beautiful Begonia~A memory of a woman.

     I stepped out of the cold blustery wind and into a warm, inviting greenhouse today, which was loaded with all things Spring. The smell of wet soil, mist hitting my face, fans blowing the warm air all around me, as I perused all the glorious flowers with hues of reds, coral, violet, blues, yellows, and fuchsia. Rows and rows of endless blissfulness.  It was so overdue. In Minnesota we have long anticipated our spring, but it won't come, not fully. It even snowed here this morning, but I was still tucked away under my flannel sheets to even notice.
I didn't put flannel sheets on all winter, but when spring didn't show up in May, I finally conceded.
     One flower always stops me and I reach out to touch it and admire it's beauty, but in that moment it's not the flower I see, it's a woman I met many years ago. Her favorite flowers were Begonias and she planted them year after year. No one had better Begonias than her! Her name is Lyla. She's pretty old now, probably in her late 80s or 90s and my girls tell me she doesn't remember much any more. When I was 24, we moved to a small town in Wisconsin. She and her husband were my neighbors.
     They epitomized everything a marriage should be after years of being together and  growing old together. They lived a clean and simple life, having raised their children and settled quietly in a modest in-town home, while they ran a little ma and pa type gas station and garage. They still pumped your gas, cleaned your windows and checked your fluid levels. Lyla would often times have homemade cookies to taste and there was always a story to tell. I haven't seen her for 11 years or more and her husband has since passed away, but every spring I think about her and the memories of my girls running barefoot through her garden to get a piece of candy from her or a spritz cookie from a recipe she'd had in her family for generations, which is now in my family. 
     Their life together will always be settled in my mind under happiness through simplicity and love. They gardened, they harvested wild rice, they cooked, and laughed and shared stories when I visited them. Their house was perfect, well kept, warm and inviting. Everything had it's place, with deep rich wood, handcrafted furniture, homemade quilts and the smell of home cooked meals. At Christmas there was a fresh cut tree with old fashioned ornaments that looked almost new adorning every sparse branch like the Christmas Trees you see in the magazines. Complete with lights which had liquid bubbling through them. Seems so miraculous how one flower brings back a hundred good memories. I walked on and smiled at how Lyla has imprinted on my heart and soul for 20 years now. As long as I live, I will never forget her.  I hope I'm that woman too.