A few days ago, my husband and I were taking a ride on a country road. As we rounded a bend, I was awed by the beauty of the Queens Lace. More than that, I was drawn to bunches of wild purple flowers. The kind that grows along various roads in the late spring to early summer. These beauties dot the side of many paths and are very pretty to look at.
Although I do not know the name of this wildflower, I do know that I love them. I love everything about them, from their different heights, green leaves and delicate shades of purple. I love how just the sight of them transports me back to a time when I did not have a care in the world. A happy time filled with the anticipation of what the next day might bring.
Each mile we drove, each corner we turned, those precious purple flowers kept appearing almost as if it was meant to be. Little did I know, that ride was one I needed to make. Sometimes when life gets a little full, or when we feel overwhelmed, or when we are missing our family who resides in heaven, God sends us reminders of how things used to be. Whether it is to remind us of a time when life was more simple and carefree, a time when our doors were very seldom locked, a time when we felt safe, or perhaps a time when a little girl picked her first bunch of purple wildflowers.
We lived on a farm in Forks Township. Our farm had the typical buildings: farmhouse, barn, chicken coup, rabbit house, milk house, pig pen, and smokehouse. Dad never used the smokehouse. He used it mostly for storage. It was a medium building in Dad’s eyes with a massive fireplace that took up most of one side of the room. It was made of red bricks that had turned a deep rusty-red from years of use and years of just sitting without a purpose.
The walls, floor, ceiling, and trim around the windows were a dark weather-worn brown, grayish black. In my mind, I imagined the fireplace working hard smoking meats, pushing out gray steam, soaking into the wood.
I remember asking Mom if I could play house in there. She looked at me with her beautiful almost turquoise blue eyes and said, ” I don’t see why not.”
The smokehouse was down a small hill in a direct line from our side door. Mom and Dad cleared out the stored items and carried them to an area in the barn. I helped take some of the smaller pieces then dashed up to my room, to collect some of my favorite things to make the rustic building my special place.
When I got down to the woodsy smelling building, Mom was setting up an old rickety card table as Dad entered with two old wooden chairs. I remember feeling very proud. Mom told me I could borrow her broom to sweep up the floor anytime I needed it. She even hung up old curtains on the three windows. Even though they did not match, I didn’t care. They were beautiful to me. When I was almost finished getting everything in place. Mom called me into the house. As I opened the screen door, she stood smiling by the old white stove holding a piece of pink and yellow-flowered material. It wasn’t a big piece, but it was perfect, especially when Mom told me it would make a beautiful tablecloth. She was right. It looked so pretty on my unsteady table.
As the days went on, more little things were added. Everything was perfect, except my tablecloth was missing something. That evening, Mom and I took a short walk up our country road. I asked her where we were going and she replied, ” You’ll see.” Soon we came across a small patch of little light purple wildflowers. We stopped, cut a bunch and walked back to my home away from home. Mom gave me a quart size mason canning jar to hold my gems.
The smokehouse became my place to play house, dream, think of stories that I would often tell the many cats and kittens that roamed freely on our little farm.
Each day, I picked a bouquet of those purple flowers. I so loved that time of my life, and I so loved those precious petals that adorned my little square table. However, the story does not end there. When I walked out the only door to my treasure, to my left was a tall green, weeping willow that became another special place where I could be anyone or anything I wanted to be. I spent many an afternoon in my little house with the purple flowers dreaming and imagining, ” what if” stories that I liked to tell to my baby sisters. When my small house became too warm, I would take one more look at my purple flowers, as I headed out to my willow with a happy heart.
It is amazing how something as simple and yet beautiful as the wild purple flowers triggered a memory that happened over sixty years ago. Memories are a real blessing. They fill our hearts with happiness and are a tangible reminder that love never dies. It’s funny as I am finishing this story, I feel both of my parents with me. I feel their hearts and almost see the love in their eyes as if they were sitting right next to me.
I am grateful for their unconditional love even from heaven. So dear readers, when something unexpectedly touches your heart and stirs up a memory that brightens your day and brings a smile to your face, embrace it. I believe that when memories enter our mind and heart, it’s meant to happen. I think that our loved ones often talk to God and plan a time and place where everything comes together. I like to think of it as their way of guiding us here on earth from their home in heaven; letting us know that we are never alone and their love endures forever.