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by Tamara Hillman

May 2012

May brings one thing to my mind in its beginning, and that’s FLOWERS!

Where I grew up, the snow had finally left, and wild flowers were poppin’ up everywhere in the fields, and on the surrounding hills, and mountains. There were bluebells, buttercups, and glorious sunflowers everywhere you looked. Plenty of bouquets to pick for Mom, and bring home in our grubby little hands on our return trip from visiting neighbor kids. The bright colors made the drabness of winter fade away instantly, and quickened our step knowing warm weather would be ours again until late fall.

Mom would find an empty fruit jar, and arrange the gifted flowers as though they were a costly prize we’d bought at the florist’s shop in town. We made May-Baskets at school to deliver to neighbors too. It was a lovely time to run the fields, and enjoy life to the fullest.

Mom planted a huge garden about this time of year, and also flowers; Iris, and sweet peas were planted along the north side of the house, and a few roses on the west side. With plenty of water from our well, and the hot sun, they grew like wild weeds, and so did we.

Both my grannies had green thumbs, and their vegetable and flower gardens were weed-free. They grew tiger lilies, poppies, marigolds, hollyhocks, roses, dahlias, snapdragons, and geraniums. Oh, how beautiful they were, and they smelled fantastic!

My Granny Dicus had an eight-foot high fence around her gardens to keep the rabbits and their own cattle out of the perfectly manicured rows, while my Grandma Brandt lived in town, so hers were all around the exterior of the house and yard.

 

I personally have had the most fun learning about cactus planting and growing here in the desert of Arizona. It’s amazing how easy they are; Just break off a piece from one you favor in a neighbor or friend’s yard, (with their permission, of course) stick it in the ground, water it as you plant it, then, leave it alone. God does the watering and nurturing from then on. Everything grows fast, and flowers beautifully. ‘Course, ya gotta watch out for them pricklers! There definitely is a way to handle cactus without getting poked. I learned that trick first thing…

May also brings Memorial Day at the end of the month, and my being a Marine Staff Sergeant’s daughter, born at the end of WW11 in 1945, I was taught to honor our country, flag, the military, and those who died to give me the gift of FREEDOM! A lesson I never took for granted, or forgot. I’m proud to carry it on to the next generation.

Now, that big, strappin’ Marine who ordered us kids around (all our lives) like he was still in the Service is almost ninety-one, and is a shrunken, little, old man who resides in a rest home because he has dementia. Mom died last April, and Dad needs the company and help of the wonderful folks who so tenderly care for him there. He still walks and talks, but doesn’t know what he’s saying, or where he’s going. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s sad. “Old age ain’t for sissy,” as Art Linkletter aptly put it.

I won’t be in my home state of Washington this year on Memorial Day to decorate the graves of family and fallen heroes at the cemetery since we are flying home in June to be at another grandson’s graduation, and visit Dad. (Can’t do two trips that close together.) But, I’ll be thinking of those brave souls who served this country, and some who gave all for American citizens to sleep in peace each night.

When I see Pop, we’ll reminisce about times way back because that’s where he can actually recall a few things. I have to introduce myself as Tammi, (my childhood nickname) everytime I call, or see him in person because he thinks I should still be a little girl of four or five instead of a full grown woman, (too full around the hips). We still have conversations about him living with his folks on their farm in the hills of Idaho where he grew up. He thinks I’m one of his sisters then, and his folks are out at the barn milking, or doing other chores. I learn things I never knew when he goes back in time.

Granny Tam

LIGHT OF THE MOON

The hour was nearing,
their parting―too soon
as shadows grew longer
‘neath the light of the moon.

He held her waist tightly,
and swayed to the tune
she hummed, oh so sweetly,
‘neath the light of the moon.

Two hearts separating
by war’s dreadful doom—
they danced their last dance
‘neath the light of the moon.

A flag-draped coffin
was sent home in June,
now she dances alone
’neath the light of the moon.

Tamara Hillman
©2006

Epps Brothers Honor American Veterans Music Video.



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