Monday, June 29, 2015

Tiger Lilies

When I was little, I went to my Grandma and Grandpa's farm as much as I could-- as often as someone would take me!  I loved spending time at the farm, it always felt like time moved slower there as we took care of all the things that needed to be done.  Grandpa Tom would hum away and listen to classical music and work in his shop, or be out on the tractor, and Gran and I would pick weeds or strawberries or shell peas and bake cookies and bread and squish laundry through the manual rollers in the basement, or I would catch frogs (or more often encourage Auntie Joan to with hearty cries of "Get him, Auntie Joan!) or collect bits of broken dishes from the field and organize them by size, pattern, and colour in the playhouse Grandpa Tom built for me. 
When all the work was caught up, Grandpa Tom loved to ride his bicycle, and he would put a pillow on the back rack and there I would sit, and we'd go watch the trains in Oak River or, if the season was JUST right, we'd pick wildflowers for Gran.  He showed me how to cut them so that they'd grow again next year, with a little yellow pocketknife.  My favourite of all the flowers were the Tiger Lilies.  In a sea of yellows and whites and pinks and mostly green, all of a sudden there would be a flash of red-orange, and the brakes would come on on the bicycle, and we'd wade through the waist-high grass towards the flashes of red and cut big bunches of the gorgeous lilies to bring back to Gran.  The season was very short, even to me as a child, but it usually coincided with the end of the school year and my usual 2 or more week visit to the farm.  Occasionally if we were lucky, my cousin Andrea would even join us, as you can see in the photo above.
Last week, after weeks of scanning the ditches each day on the way home, I yelled (like, actually YELLED, I'm surprised Jon kept the car on the road): "TIGER LILIES!!!!!".  So, we picked a few, and they're holding a place of honor on my kitchen table beside a photo of Grandpa Tom, who passed away 12 years ago.  I like to think he'd be proud of me and Jon and our new endeavor and that we have returned to my roots in Manitoba, where the wild Tiger Lilies bloom in the ditches in June.

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