The Wrong Lilies

The Wrong Lilies

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mrs. Austin's Jonquils

When I was a young mother, my mother and I would often take my baby daughter for a drive, and there was one place in the spring that my mother took me where there was a whole field of beautiful yellow jonquils, a truly awesome sight. The field was owned by an elderly lady, Mrs. Austin, who lived next door in an elderly house. I wanted very much to have some of those flowers, so we asked if she would sell some of the bulbs.  Well, first Mrs. Austin said to come back at a particular date, and when I called her, she had changed her mind, and it took about two years for her to settle on the date when we could come to get the bulbs. By that time, we now had a baby son as well as a toddler. My poor long-suffering husband was going to school part time and working full time, but nevertheless on the appointed day he took me to see Mrs. Austin and get the bulbs.   We had a very limited budget and I knew I could only buy a few. Well, it turned out that the man who usually dug Mrs. Austin's bulbs had not shown up that day, so my dear husband, on a hot Texas June day, not only dug  a very long row of bulbs across a field, but also had the honor of buying some for me, a dollar's worth, at 5 cents a bulb!

Those bulbs thrived and bloomed. They went with us to the country home we moved to and lived at for over twenty-eight years, they multiplied amazingly, and some went to friends and neighbors. I always called them Mrs. Austin's jonquils, because I had no other. When we moved from our old home place, I made sure that some of the bulbs went with me.  And I have to say that Mrs. Austin made it possible for me to spend every winter waiting for emerging bulb shoots, and every spring not only enjoying these wonderful bulbs, but also the memory of that rascally little old lady.  They don't make old ladies like they used to!

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