This Daily Prompt took me back to a springtime walk and the beautiful memories of my grandmother that came to me that day. The memories were brought on by the sight and smell of lilies of the valley at the side of the road. The sweet smell of the delicate bells flirting amid the dramatically curving leaves brought her back to me. It’s not what you might think — it’s not that she wore sweet “old lady” perfume that smelled like these flowers; her shady yard was abundant with them.
She and my grandfather built their colonial house on a lot covered with tall pines; there aren’t that many flowers that can grow in that type of shade, but lily of the valleys thrive in such a spot. She and my grandfather must have liked the pines because they didn’t cut them down to make the yard sunnier. (The people who bought and renovated her house after she died cut down most of the trees and completely transformed the lot and the house, leaving her old yard and house only a memory.) One whole side of her driveway was a swath of lilies of the valley; when we would pull in the driveway for a springtime visit, we would always pause to breathe in their sweet smell before going into the dark, cluttered house.
She must have been trying to reach me from beyond that day: hours later I was at my parents house with my younger brother. We unearthed a box of games in the back of one of our sheds of “stuff.” The shed is full of boxes that were moved out of my grandmother’s house when she passed away. My father intended to go through the shed himself, but he passed away before he could get it done. Now it is a chore for those left behind.
The games also brought back more good memories of my grandmother: When we grandchildren were young, we took turns staying at her house for the weekend. She kept a lot of games there for our entertainment when we stayed over, some of them games my father had as a child. They were quite old, but “new” and “special” toys to us. We used to fight over whose turn it was to stay over. When you live in a small house full of many children, you long for more space and quiet and the concentrated attention of a grandparent. She made us feel special.
Those were the days…