My friend Jack was a self-taught agronomist, and a brilliant one, I might add. When I met him about 25 years ago, I was nearing the ripe old age of 30 and he was in his early 70s. I knew he was in the ‘older’ category but I never really thought of him as ‘old’ because he was constantly on the move. Younger people were challenged to keep pace with him. But more than that…his heart was always light, he went about whistling or humming, had a quick and hearty laugh, loved God and man, and was willing to share his knowledge with anyone eager to receive it. Old? I should be so old!
Jack and his wife Gladys lived in Central California where Jack had experimented with grafting trees and had plantings of all kinds to his heart’s content. When they both retired from teaching, they decided to move several hours north to Willits to be near their children. Well, I should say, Jack decided. Gladys followed, of course, but it wasn’t at all easy to leave behind her friends and clubs and church and home and garden and flowers. I think perhaps we women get more attached than men do and it is hard to uproot ourselves and think about starting all over.
The first time I visited my ‘older’ friends at their home was early one March. I turned off the main street of the small town, headed west through an older neighborhood, wound around some trees and over a creek, and finally spied the address on the mailbox. As I drove up the long driveway, my mouth fell open! The hillside in front of their house was a welcome mat of bright, smiling daffodils. It was several years later when I learned that Jack had planted hundreds of his beloved wife’s favorite flower at their new home- his way of saying ‘thank you’ for her willingness to come north.
I can’t imagine anything more beautiful than a flower. Well, maybe just one thing…A flower planted with love.
“A friend loves at all times…” Proverbs 17:17