Friday, May 11, 2012

An Original

I picked a bouquet of tulips from my Uncle Doug’s garden today. He hasn’t been home for many months. He is gravely ill and staying with my Dad and his caregivers. I am reminded of a line from Garrison Keillor, telling his Prairie Home Companion audience about recent Lake Wobegon events. He mentioned his elderly aunt who was readying for death. He referred to her condition as “going about her business.”  I like the phrase, very matter of fact and accepting of our fate. As natural as birth, death is.

I found the flowers, in true Doug fashion, a hodgepodge of color. Blood red long-stemmed tulips with velvety black stamens. And to their right the delicate shorter stemmed pinks that stay closed up, shy and demure. Then finally the flamboyant yellow blooms with fluffy petals curling this way and that, streaked with crimson. Hardly demure, they open wide like a flamenco dancer in fluffy skirts. Despite their differences they look gorgeous in a bouquet together. I guess Doug would know that; he lived original.  

Doug didn’t look at the bouquet, but told me “good for you.” He always loved to share his flowers with friends and family. He would take me through his yard, laboriously clipping every perfect bloom from a bed even when his knees didn’t work anymore.   

My visit to his yard today was comforting as it always is, even without Doug. The apple trees are in bloom, the quakies quiver and the gloriosa daisies wait their turn. The worn chair setting under the apple tree looks forlorn though, not even a folded newspaper left behind to suggest an owner. 

1 comment:

  1. I referred to Doug as a "oner", and that he was. Nobody quite like him, and he/we liked it that way. May he rest in peace.