Tag Archives: flowers

Memory Triggers

Memory Triggers by Nancy Eady

The best writers in any genre use setting to create moods with a few deft sentences.  Their ability to create moods through language is amazing given the many different ways memories are evoked in people.

Take the example of a blooming pear tree.  February is winding to a close here in the deep South, and Spring is making an unseasonably warm appearance with the trees, shrubs and flowers blooming in swift succession.

The first signs of spring are the daffodils and the forsythia bushes, better known as yellowbells.  Shortly after or while they are blooming, the tulip trees burst out with their pink and white blooms, and then the pear trees.

The flowers of pear trees are white and small compared to the large tulip tree blooms but they still show up because nothing else much is blooming and because they fill up the entire tree.  A pear tree in bloom throws itself into the process.  It doesn’t dally, shilly-shally, or shyly peek forward a bloom at a time.  It personifies the verb “to blossom.”

Pear trees always remind me of my dad-in-law, who passed away in 2001.  This is an odd association in some ways, because he didn’t particularly love spring flowers or pears.  Like most people, he was always glad to see signs that spring was coming, but he didn’t rejoice in the flowers the way I do, the way that makes my teenage daughter look at me sideways and say, “Mom, get a grip.”

So where does the association come from?  For the five years I was in law school (I went part time, three nights a week with two summers off), he and my Mom-in-law fed me supper every night I had class – and they were happy to do so.  They enjoyed having me there.  One day in March in the mid-90’s during supper, Mark’s Dad mentioned to me that he had seen some of the white flowered trees blooming in a field.  He said they were dogwoods, but I was pretty sure it was too early for the dogwoods to have started.  So I drove by the field that afternoon on my way to school, and realized that he was talking about the wild pear trees that had colonized the abandoned field and turned what would otherwise have been an eyesore into an attractive harbinger of spring.

I don’t know what makes that memory stand out, but ever since then, when I see the pear trees in bloom, I not only celebrate the nearness of spring, but also remember fondly a man who meant a great deal to me.

What sights and sounds do you see that trigger memories in you?

Note:  This post was first posted Monday, February 26, on the Writers Who Kill blog.  If you find it interesting and are curious, take a trip to www.writerswhokill.blogspot.com and see what my fellow bloggers and mystery writers have on their minds.  And for those of you who gave me advice on which picture to choose to demonstrate my nefariousness, you’ll see my selection on the left hand side of the page at the bottom.
Have a good day everyone!

Southern Spring Show

Good morning Everyone!

While this spring has sported unusually cool weather for Alabama, the azaleas had a brief chance to put on their usual fireworks show.  Here are just a few of them:

2013-04-17_07-58-25_284 2013-04-17_07-58-32_49 2013-04-17_07-58-36_512 2013-04-17_07-58-41_412 2013-04-17_07-58-43_790 2013-04-17_07-59-01_961 2013-04-17_07-59-05_590 DSCN1264 DSCN1244 DSCN1243 DSCN1242 DSCN1240

Have a great day!


Confessions of a Recovering Misovalentinist

Good morning Everyone!

It may have escaped the notice of some of you, although I scarcely know how given Madison Avenue’s best attempt to thoroughly cover the airways with advertisements about the darn thing, but today is Valentine’s Day.  So, to get the obligatory greeting over with, Happy Valentine’s Day!

I do sincerely hope that each of you has a good day today, but I have a confession to make – I used to really hate Valentine’s Day. FN.

For me, it started once I went from elementary school to junior high and up, which was when we stopped filling out little Valentines that we brought to school for our entire class.  This fun and kind tradition was replaced with fundraisers by various clubs in school where you could purchase a carnation to be sent to a special someone, and the club would deliver the carnation to whoever it was during the school day.  (Carnations must have been very inexpensive, as I went to junior high and high school in three different states across two coasts – California, Virginia (the D.C. area) and Alabama – and carnations were used every time.)   If you weren’t going to get a carnation – and in grades 7 through 12 I got a total of two – one from my Mom [Thanks Mom!] and one from my best friend in grade 11 [thank you Debbie Gronich; I only wish you hadn’t had to move before the next year!] – it was a form of water torture to creep through an entire day watching some people get dozens of carnations and knowing I wasn’t going to get one but sort of hoping I would get one still.  I have to admit that left deep bruises on my soul I didn’t think would ever heal.  (However, at those ages, lots of things seem to leave deep bruises we have a hard time recovering from.) Until…

1) I was old enough to appreciate the fact that my grandparents and aunt and uncle always sent me a card and a little something and I realized that important love isn’t solely romantic love.  (You manage to lose sight of that during junior school and high school when you are not part of the “in” crowd.)

2) Mark and I fell in love after my second year in college and I realized how strong, solid and deep his love for me is.  I don’t have to worry about Valentine’s Day anymore; I know he loves me.  Just for the record, his gifts are much better than silly carnations!

3) Kayla came to live with us and she and I filled out little Valentines for every member of her classes together.  I hate that this year (next year in 5th grade she moves on to the middle school where they may not do this) may be the last year we do it.

4) I decided that at least some of those people must have sent the carnations to themselves so they would look more popular.  It’s probably not true, but it makes me feel better.

5) I was old enough to appreciate the scene at any grocery store in America at 5:30 p.m. on Valentine’s Day evening.  Try it this evening if you need a laugh; you will see men (and some women) desperately wandering the aisles trying to decide which of the leftover, slightly wilted flower arrangements would best disguise the fact that they forgot to get something for their special someone on this day, whether a bag of Reese’s cups counts as Valentine’s chocolate, if a one day old cookie cake or a new Swiffer sweeper would do the trick.  (Hint:  Nix the Swiffer sweeper; a gift of nothing for Valentine’s Day is better than a cleaning utensil, unless the cleaning utensil is a subscription to a weekly cleaning service for a year.)

So, today, while I am not exactly a fan of the “holiday,” I at least no longer hate Valentine’s Day – although as I schlep into Kayla’s school this morning in the rain with 40 Capri Suns, 64 Rice Krispies treats (yes, of course, I bought them at the store – you thought I made them at home?), 23 paper plates for the afterschool care party, a box of 24 Valentines with Nerds carefully tucked into them, a book bag and a 10-year-old, I may have to work hard to keep from falling into old thought habits!

Have a great day everyone!


FN.  A misanthropist is someone who hates men, a misogynist is someone who hates women, so hence the word misovalentinist – someone who hates Valentine’s Day.  Spell check is having a fit!

Morning Interrupted and A Splash of Color

Good morning (or good afternoon in the Central U.S. Time Zone and those points further east) everyone!
  • Morning Interrupted

Today’s title, “Morning Interrupted,” was far more prophetic than I ever intended it to be.  Not only was my early morning (i.e., pre 6:30 a.m.) routine left in shambles but my mid-morning schedule has been disrupted as well. 

Powerful Spark (From Print Shop 2.0 Deluxe)

 Mark was out of town last night, so of course a round of thunderstorms chose to rumble in around 4:00 a.m.  Kayla is very afraid of thunderstorms, so she came padding into our bedroom around 4, and I let her go ahead and crawl up into the bed on Mark’s side.  Those negotiations taking a little time, Mandy and Darwin viewed them as a sign that it was time to get up, so they started jumping on and off the bed in great excitement.  You really haven’t lived until all four paws of a 55 or 60 pound dog hit you squarely on the chest at 4:00 a.m. in the morning!

I threw them outside into the thunderstorm to do whatever they felt they needed to. (Tyra knew better than to wake up.  Besides, she is not going into a thunderstorm unless she is thrown out into it, so she got to stay inside and asleep at the foot of the bed.) 

Once they came back in, around 4:10 or so, my only hope of getting any more rest before 5:30 was to separate Darwin and Mandy, so I put Darwin up in his carrier (he usually sleeps there or in the den at night – he only got to sleep in the bedroom last night because Mark wasn’t home and our routine was disrupted anyhow) and kept Mandy in the bedroom with me.  Mandy settled back down, but Darwin felt it was his sworn duty to bark with his loud “intruder alert” bark every time a strong thunder clap sounded over the house.  This practice guaranteed that even if Kayla could get to sleep, she was going to wake back up once he started to bark, which further ensured that I wasn’t getting back to sleep either.

After about 45 minutes of that, Kayla got up and ran into the bathroom and started to be sick.  I got her settled back down and we finally got maybe an extra half-hour before we had to get up.  After we got up, I took her temperature, and she was in that no-man’s land between 98.6 and 100 (at 99.3), so I gave her a choice on whether to go to school or not. 

She elected to go because the school is doing the Stanford Achievement Tests and she was going to try to finish the test (this is the second, and last, day of testing).  I let her off at school at 7:15 with a wish and a prayer, and toodled my way to work, where I hoped to have an uneventful, but fruitful, day. 

Alas, as you probably suspect, that was not to be!  About 9:45 the school called and said that she had left the test, with the principal at her side, saying that she was too sick to keep taking it.  I asked the nurse about her temperature, and she was still in that no-man’s land, although a little higher at 99.7, and hadn’t gotten sick again. Even though I wasn’t sure that she was any worse than she had been when I dropped her off, I left work and traveled back to our home town to pick her up.  It was a good thing I did; as soon as we got home, she was sick again, and then when I took her temperature, it was up around 101.6!  Fortunately, our doctor can see her at 2, and right now she is asleep on the couch, in which state I hope she stays for a couple  hours, since sleep is the best thing for her. 

I would like to go to sleep, too, but as every mother knows, your child will never get sick on a day when you are fairly caught up, so I have a project I get to work on for a while here at the house.  However, as I have said before, I am very grateful to the people I work with for their understanding about family and priorities and I am grateful that I can work on a project at the house to keep caught up.

All of which is a long way of saying nothing this morning, so far, has gone according to plan, but maybe the new improved plan will have better luck!

  • A Splash of Color

Even though a sick child is something every parent can sympathize with, I hate to end my blog on such a damp note, so instead I am finishing this entry off with a few pictures of some of the flowers around Key West that Mark and I enjoyed seeing.  This is a very small sample compared with what is avaible to see down there, but I hope it brightens your day.

Picture of a house taken from the Conch Train


Tubebuia Tree, Key West


Tabebuia Tree Flowers, Key West

Have a great day everyone!