As we snaked around the "S" curve in the rutted bumpy road topping the rise just near the Horton's rusty old mailbox sunk into an even rustier bucket I asked him to let me out there indicating that I would walk the rest of the way. It was and is a familiar stopping place. For as far back as I can remember in spring and summer and fall, weather permitting, I have walked the last leg of the journey to the farm gathering a large bouquet of wild flowers that bloom in profusion along the roadside to present to my grandmother.
She always made a big fuss over them exclaiming, "They Geeeee!" I was wrapped in a warm snug hug and kissed on the cheek. She is no longer at the end of the journey to receive them but the tradition remains the same. I walk along gathering whatever is in season, bundling a bouquet ready to slip into a water filled mason jar to grace the farm house table top. Mostly it was a profusion of pink this last time, blooming just beginning there and all, Red Bud trees, Bee Balm, a few shrubs and bushes I know not the names of on sturdy woody stems.
The jar was slipped into an old metal pitcher resting atop a vintage linen. The crazed ivory platter is replaced with a buttery yellow one that is filled with water. Two little blue bird figurines are borrowed from her collection of knick-knacks.
With a walk around the yard and through the old garden spot Fire Bush blossoms, Dandelions, fresh Mint, Purple Grape Hyacinth, Bee Balm blooms, and little pink flowers are gathered. A piece of weathered wood will do nicely too I think. Back inside the buttery yellow platter is transformed into a birdbath in full bloom. While one little blue bird splashes and plays in the water the other is perched on the edge of the "tree" centerpiece.
It was in such displays she would greatly delight, letting me rummage through her cupboards, cellar, or shed to find just the right things to make what is now often called a tablescape. She would exclaim over and over how pretty it was and direct everyone to look at what "Nay" had made just for her. She enjoyed it for days after until the last of the pretty petals dropped.
In a way I hope she still knows that I do this in honor of her memory. Whatever weekend we can get away to the farm I still stop at the Horton's old rusty mail box and gather as I go. At the end of the weekend as we head out of town we make the long loop up and around the mountain in the opposite direction of home until we weave our way around to the little white picket fence enclosed cemetery.
We pull up beside the family plots and I ease out with my mason jar full of whatever the season has to offer, quietly and reverently, greeting in remembrance each of my relatives as I pass their final resting places until I reach my Granny. I tell her that I love her and think of her everyday. I give her the bouquet I collected and share what would certainly be a shared smile as I can hear the old caretaker grumbling about "Lucille's girl's girl aleavin' them confound mason jars full o' weeds!" Him well knowing that my aunt will come by and collect the jar and dispose of the "weeds" in a few days time.
I bid her farewell until the next trip up and for a fraction of a second I think I hear her say, "Nay, you always are and always will be Granny's girl."