For a short time when I was a kid, I was a town kid. My parents moved me and my sisters into town so they could build a new house out on our farm.
This would have been terrible except for the fact that my grandparents lived just three houses down from us at the time.
My sisters and I spent many summer days running back and forth between their house and ours, calling out our hellos to the elderly neighbor ladies that lived between. One particularly warm fall Saturday morning, I spied my grandfather out on his front lawn, digging around. Of course, this looked interesting and just had to be checked out, so over I ran. My grandfather was a military man and even then he commanded respect from young children.
We never spoke to him first but always waited for him to speak to us first. So, knowing the first rule, I simply plopped down on the edge of his lawn and waited and watched. The second rule that my grandfather kept was that children should be seen and not heard.
So, knowing full well the second rule, and even though I was just about busting from curiosity, I remained quiet. Eventually, which seemed like it took a million years, he looked over at me, smiled and pointed to a bag that sat against the front steps of the house.
I scurried over because the third rule was if you didn't act there and then, the invitation may not be given again. I took up the bag and brought it over to him and yet I waited to find out what in the world he was doing.
As I sat down, he explained that he always wanted a field of tulips to come up and be his own. He had been places that he had seen fields of tulips and hyacinths and other flowers blooming from one end of the field to the other. He wanted, in a small way, to have this for his own. By now, I knew it was okay to say something, so the million dollar question as it is with kids is, "why?"
Why what, he asked. Why are you planting them in the lawn instead of in the garden like you usually do Grandpa? Why? Well, he wanted to have it look natural, he said and it did.
The next spring rolled around and this time my grandfather came to get me from our house and we walked over to his house to see the first blooms of those flowers coming up in the lawn.
The grass hadn't yet woke up from its winter sleep and yes, it did look like they were supposed to be there, planted here and there like we did that last fall.
He let the grass grow out that spring and waited as long as he could before he mowed full well knowing that some wouldn't make it back the next spring. That fall, we moved back out to the farm but I still remembered about those tulips. The bus took us into town from the farm and that spring I pointed out those tulips to my friends as we passed by. I think by the third or fourth year, there wasn't any left in the lawn.
By that time, I had my own garden out on the farm. I came home from school one cool, crisp fall and my grandfather was out by my flower garden, carefully planting tulips and crocuses in the grass near it.
My bedroom window overlooked my garden and so the next spring when I would get up in the morning I could look out the window to see all of the beautiful springtime flowers that my grandfather had planted for me. It is a wonder that I still have a thing for planting plants all over the yard and especially like to have tulips planted here and there, around the farm.
My boys help me now with planting plants and especially tulips and crocus' in the fall. They wonder at why I don't just plant them in the flower garden like most normal people do?! I just say, it looks more natural.
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