Rosemary is supposed to be the plant that stands for remembrance, but I don’t think so. I think it should be lilacs for remembrance.

Last year, our backyard lilac bush was just perfect and I wanted some for a bouquet.

Because we are not particularly avid gardeners, we haven’t done a good job trimming this bush so the blossoms are pretty high. After turning 60 this fall, my husband decided he was too old to continue to climb out the upstairs bathroom window and go out over the back porch to cut the blossoms, which is what he had been doing.

So he made an executive decision with his handsaw. When I came home from a late night meeting, I found that he had just cut the two very large limbs right off and I had a ton of lilacs in buckets. I spent about an hour cutting and arranging lilacs for bouquets all over the house.

I took one bunch up north to my mom in her assisted-living apartment. As I walked down the hall with the flowers, residents and nurses smiled at the purple blossoms. One woman with a walker asked me to stop so she could smell them. She looked up at me and said, “They’re my favorite flower.”

When I got to my mom’s room, with one whiff I knew she was back at her three-story home on Main Street in Mars Hill, with the crystal vase full of lilacs on the hall table.

She said, “You know our lilac bush was right down the hill from the high school and every spring, the students would walk by and break off a blossom. It kept it very well trimmed.”

Then I went to visit my mother-in-law, who still lives in the same house where she raised my husband. I went up in the back pasture to cut her a bouquet of lilacs. Bringing them into her kitchen I saw her smile and knew she was remembering where that lilac bush had come from.

Right after the war, she and her husband had taken a picnic to her parents’ old farm house on the back Norton Hill Road where she had grown up.

It had burned many years ago, but some lilac bushes still there surrounded the foundation.

He took a serving spoon from the picnic set and dug up enough of the lilac bush to transplant to the back pasture where it has bloomed for the past 63 years.

My mother-in-law was widowed at the very young age of 35, so having something that her husband had planted means a great deal.

It’s a bit overgrown now, but I stood on tiptoe and gathered enough blooms for her kitchen table.

So, some can say that rosemary stands for remembrance, but I won’t agree. I know it’s the lilac, which smells so sweetly and brings smiles full of memories.



Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.