Picking Big Mama’s Flowers

We ran through the yard, careful not to fall prey into the thorny cacti at the edge. We headed to the side yard; the happy corner bursting with tiny bright blossoms of yellow sunshine. The daffodils smiled at the sky as we skirted through them, pollen smudging against our skinny legs. There was no defined bed as the flowers had grown rampant and had begun trailing down the hillside. We trudged up and down the embankment until we tired. We sat down to catch our breath, yellow stretching the length and width of our vision. We both dipped our heads and sniffed the sweet aroma, yellow dust tickling our noses.

“I wish somebody would pick every last one of those dern things,” Granddaddy mumbled through his whiskers as he pushed the rotor lawn cutter around the edge of the flowers. He fussed a bit more about them always being in his way. A nuisance, he called them before he mowed his way from view.

I don’t know whether it was her idea or mine, but both of us were all about pleasing Granddaddy…thus the picking began. And pick we did, every last one! Cindy and I plucked one at a time until our arms were loaded. We carried them into the old farmhouse and piled them along the wide brown steps, all eleven of them. We giggled the whole time, imagining the delight of Granddaddy as he’d walk inside to discover our surprise.

Our pride soon turned to regret as one of the aunts noticed up placing our prizes among the staircase. With childish excitement we grabbed her by the hand and pulled her outside to show off our hard work. Big Mistake!

She was less than thrilled. “Mama you better get out here and see what these girls have done!”

Tailed by another of our aunts, Big Mama rushed through the front door and clasped her hands across her mouth. “Lawd, have mercy!” Instead of following it by her usual “Well, I be drop dead”, she fell silent. We knew we were in trouble then. She’d never tanned either of our hides, but we were mentally picking out the switch from the bush in the backyard.

Cindy and I looked at each other in horror. Before we could explain, the second aunt joined in the finger pointing. Bad girls. Naughty children. Well, I’ve never seen such. All combinations of those words were tossed about and thrown against our impressionable young hearts. Before we knew it, an aunt had grabbed each of us and swatted our behinds. If that wasn’t humiliating enough, they traded us off for another spanking.

“Stop it right now”, Granddaddy roared as he rounded the corner of the house, throwing his rake to the ground.

“Let them girls go. What do you think you’re doing?”

“They picked all the daffodils.”

“Well, I’d say that’s my fault. I told them I wished somebody would pick every dern last one of ‘em. I just didn’t think they’d actually do it.” Granddaddy shook his head as his smirk spread from ear to ear.

“Now, you girls go and play. Don’t pick anymore of yo’ Big Mama’s flowers.” He laughed and added, “Guess there ain’t no more to pick!” He laughed again, and we ran off, as far away as we could get from those aunts.

Image Credit: Wikipedia

Living in the Gap

February 15, 2012 – Insomnia

Insomnia. It’s a pain in the butt. Too early to get up; yet I can’t go back to sleep. I lie in bed and watch the furniture come into view as the room lightens. The sun is not filtering in through the blinds, but the darkness is departing, in thin air it seems. There are no shadows dancing across the ceiling or walls; however, I do see the outline of the fan, dresser, and chest of drawers. I see the dog stretched across the floor in front of the door. I listen to the whoosh of the fan as each blade races to catch up with the one in front. Snort, choke, snort…the dog is not suffering from insomnia. Dirt Man asks me if I’m ok. He says I called his name. I don’t remember. Maybe I woke up from a dream, but it seems I’ve been looking, listening, and thinking for quite a while. I toss and turn. I watch the clock. I continue to look and listen. I know I should get up and be productive since I can’t sleep. Still, it feels good to just lay here and do nothing. I think about getting up, making coffee, and watching the sunrise. I just lay here and rest. Finally, I do get up before my alarm goes off. As much as I want to curse insomnia, I thank God for another day. I am blessed.

36 thoughts on “Picking Big Mama’s Flowers

  1. You brought back a lot of memories. Grandaddy saved me from a few butt whoopings from Big Mama too! She sure did LOVE her flowers, didn’t she? I can’t wait to see you guys!

    • Yeah, she did. But for the life of me, I can’t figure out why they kept that huge cactus that nearly every kid fell into at one time or another…I’m thinking it kept us from running so fast!

  2. Love your childhood stories. I hope they at least put the ones you picked in vases. It is sure not easy being a kid and not knowing all the rules.

    Since I have been reading your gap entries…. I tend to stop and be in the moment more often than rushing through. Thank you for that. I’ve never suffered insomnia, I hope I don’t jinx myself by saying that.

  3. Great share, Suzi!

    And I love how you so perfectly use words to paint very clear images….

    “We sat down to catch our breath, yellow stretching the length and width of our vision. We both dipped our heads and sniffed the sweet aroma, yellow dust tickling our noses.”

    I could see, smell, and feel that!

    Also, wonderful photo of the daffodils. The color and clarity are AWESOME!

    Happy Wednesday, my friend…..X

  4. You two were lucky your Granddaddy came along in the nick of time! Oh, how easy it was as a kid to misunderstand the things the adults said. Y’all were just trying to help! And I bet the house smelled heavenly with all those picked flowers resting in vases, didn’t it?

  5. Kids are funny. They tend to really take things literally. I’m glad your granddaddy saved your butts from more spanking. And not to worry, they all come back the next year! Hah! I love these evocative stories from your life. You do them so flawlessly.

  6. Getting picked on for picking hardly seems fair!
    Seiously, though, one of the worst mistakes adults make in handling children is to go off at a tangent about ‘naughtiness’ without first exploring the motivation.

  7. I’m glad your granddad rescued you! It really wasn’t your fault; most kids don’t understand sarcasm very well.

    My older son can tell when we are teasing, but my younger son is a literal guy – only careful joking allowed. (This does NOT include Santa joking about being on the naughty list, because he doesn’t think that’s funny at all :))

  8. What a cute story.

    My mother-in-law used to grow daffodils. Whenever I went over she would proudly show them to me. Must be their season? I saw them in the Farmer’s Market over the weekend. And now, your story.

    Sorry you can’t always sleep!

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