I never see a dahlia that I don't think of my 80-year-old neighbor, Harry, who has left this world but is always in my heart when I am in the backyard. He gave me my first potted Hydrangea as a birthday gift many years ago, I planted it, fell in love and planted many more. I still have the first "Harry Hydrangea" back there. He introduced me to Sweet Peas, taught me about growing them, soaking them and planting them on St. Patrick's Day. Sweet Peas, and the delicate scent, will always be one of my favorite flowers. But Harry's favorite flower was the dahlia. He would plant them every year, dig them up every fall. He had a backyard full of them and I was the recepient of many a generous, jewel-colored dahlia bouquets. He hated our tree (he had long past cut all the trees from his yard) and he hated our grapes. They littered his yard and I had to go over and clean up the fallen leaves to appease him. I found him one day in our backyard with his chain saw, eyeing the grapes that divided our yard from his. He told me that D has told him to go ahead and cut down the grapes. I said, "Hold on there, Harry, D doesn't make those decisions without me having some input and I say NO". Well, he had tried. He chuckled and went back to his mowing, or building something. He also lost fingertips all the time from his table saw. He was quite a character and I really miss having him as my neighbor. Although he is never further away than a glance at his hydrangea, a whiff of sweet pea or a structured dahlia. This Beautiful Sunday is dedicated to Harry.
Saner: Fragments of the Soul
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