Colorful Beauty

Some flowers know how to flaunt it.

The ones in my gardens remain shy. They peek out in season, test the air with a few blossoms, and shed petals to enrich the soil for next year.

Perhaps that’s for the good. Mothers teach modesty as a virtue. Or at the very least a positive trait.

So in front of my modest home a modest collection of flowers greet modest visitors – you know the sort, friends, neighbors, the mailman.

The example below is far from modest. I’ll admire and be aware that my plants do not receive professional care in a professional garden on a large estate.

Nothing modest about this Azalea



Brass Note

One, two, three, four tap your foot to keep the time.

Time to adjust from piano lesson where a beginning player counts aloud to give each note the proper length. Mental messages go to all the fingers, training them to follow the note on the paper, eye to brain, to finger with aid of mouth.

This is trumpet lesson time. Route the message from paper, to eye, to brain, to lips, lungs, and fingers while the foot taps, taps, taps the steady time.

Wonder of wonders! The dog didn’t go howling away from the early practices.

Over and over, with uneven progress, a simple scale yields to an easy march. Then, a little more as we add a waltz and easy arrangment of a show tune. Ready for beginning band. Playing together. Learning when to keep notes in the background and when to surge to the front. Stay together. Keep the rythmn of the foot the same as the director’s baton.

Cooperation and sportsmanship in music.


Yellow Beauty

Long ago and far away….. on planet earth in the 20th century…. I lived in a place where flowers are a crop.

Every year acres and acres of flowers grew on the delta, nourished on rich soil and tended in fields established by Dutch farmers. On a fine spring weekend day the traffic paraded through the roads on the flat grid, pulling aside to use film (yes, this was before digital cameras) to record the wide view, or a close up, or that once in a lifetime shot of small child meeting blossom.

This flower, one of my favorites, never came to full bloom in the field. They would be harvested and shipped world wide – including Tahiti – can you feature – shipping fresh flowers to Tahiti!

That’s the way it works – when the bulb requires more cold weather than a tropical paradise receives you import the blooms if you want to admire this yellow beauty.

This group comes to full bloom in a North Carolina garden.


Moving Notes

Moving Day!!!   A new experience as we sort and decide which items will move from the village to the farm four miles away.

The big old upright piano gets special care. (And a few words from the men loading and unloading.)

The piano finds a home in the living room. The new dog, a German Shephard, finds a comfy place curled under the keyboard whenever mother sits down to play.

Piano lessons for two begin. My brother stays with it a year. Reasons abound for me to continue. So every Tuesday after supper mother (only rarely father) drives me across the top of the hill, down to the lake, and along the shore to the teacher they selected. Scales, simple arrangements of old standards, and hymns are assigned and mastered in varying degrees.

Life gets busy. The lessons are discontinuted for other music and church activities. Some of the playing continues. The music is still fun to play when I can select the tune.

Then one day we purchase a book of simple duets. The brother dusts off his music reading and works on the bass part. I repeat and repeat and repeat the top. We play for fun. And one day reach a pinnicale of sorts.

We’ve just started the long piece. Mother insists I run upstairs to fetch something. Off I go as quick as long, teen legs will take me. The thump, thump, tump of the piece continue in my absence. I slip back into my chair, catch the spot in the melody, and we continue the piece.


White Beauty

Did it happen overnight? It seems like only a day or two past the tree stood with fine brown, bare branches.

Today it stands full, white, and inviting any and all pedestrians to take a deep breath.

Hang on tight little white blossoms. Spring winds send more than pollen flying from tree to tree.

We long for more the morning we come outside and find your delicate blossoms now like snow on the ground beneath. They have yielded their place to pale, tiny leaves that will grow, darken, and mature to give more beauty and shade during the approaching summer.

White Beauty



First Notes

The first house I lived in was already old when my parents moved in. A two story brick structure with a long front porch it had already served as a home, a hospital, and a home again in addition to surviving the fire consuming the old hardward store next door with only a little charring of the attic timbers.

We called it the “middle room”. On a floor plan the label would have been dining room. I only remember dining in it a few times, when large numbers of relatives came for a holiday dinner. It did contain many things, and my brothers and I spent many hours there. One of the constant furnishings was the piano.

A majority of houses, or at least the ones we visited in, had a piano in those days. Some of them were played regular by parents, children, or both. Mother played ours the best. Dad played a little treble melody line. Among the hymnals and songbooks were some beginning lesson books so I think my oldest brother took a few lessons before my memory was strong.

The best piano memory in that room came from an Aunt – a Great Aunt – if we go for precision. She didn’t visit often but when she did we children insisted that she play. For you see — when she was young, she played the piano at the silent picture show. The room would fill with the “villian”, the “hero”, the “Indians”, the “chase”, and the “happily ever after”.



Spring Beauty

A short walk from my front door stands a spring beauty.

It’s only ten paces past the garbage and recycle dumpsters, right on the lawn where it shades the living room window of an acquaintance.

A mild winter brings it early this year. The gray, velvet covered buds have swelled, burst, and stretched into delicate pink and white beauties. They won’t stay long. Soon they will be replaced by smooth, shiny leaves doing their own stretch and grow routine.

I take my morning walk and let the beauty of today sink in as I pass. It gives a lift to my soul and spirit as well as pleasure to the eye.


Siren Song

Severe weather awareness.

This is the American Midwest. A great place to live, not doubt about it. And known for variety of weather in addition to many other things.

Severe weather. In March the first thought is thunderstorms and tornados. Yes, we could still have snow, ice and winter storm. But the odds are changing along with the temperature.

Each month now they will test the warning system. Most of the old sirens have been replaced with new, more modern models that can also double as public address. (Although, when they tested that feature last fall I couldn’t understand a word from my patio.)

Let’s hope that all the use the system sees this year are scheduled tests.

Singing siren


It’s March!  The days are getting a little longer.  The countdown to sping is started.

I dawdle during my grocery shopping. The vegetable and flower seed pack displays beckon. What should I plant this year? What do I have left from other years? Are some of the seeds at home too old to depend on?

The bulbs in front have been up over a month due to a mild winter. I cross my fingers that I’ll have more than one bright daffodil this year.

When I walk out on my patio I take a careful look at my garden spot for the year. The old raised bed is gone, replaced by a neat rectangle of cement blocks on plastic. (No sense in having weeds in the cement walls.) It’s larger. I’ll need to buy more topsoil and peat moss. The compost pile next to the garden bed begs an estimate of how much it will contribute.

Not yet!  The sunshine welcomes and deceives at the same time. We have frosty nights and could still have snow. The moisture would be good. Keep everything as plans for the moment.

I go and look at the bulbs again, inspect the Lamb’s Ears for possible new growth.