“[The daffodils] are exquisite this spring. I stopped at your door one day last week to say ‘thank you,’ but you weren’t at home. I believe these bulbs came from your Mom’s yard several years ago and they just keep multiplying. I see you shared yours with the mail carrier. Nice. I miss your Mom and these are such a nice way to keep in touch.” Thus wrote my sweet and thoughtful neighbor this morning.
Wordsworth covered daffodil description pretty well, although I failed to appreciate him in my youth at Penfield High. About twenty years later – when Wordsworth was far from my mind – my mother planted bulbs all over her yard and the edges of the surrounding fields with a purpose: they would stay after she was gone, they would multiply, and I would always be reminded of her in the springtime. They did, they have, and I am.
How do I know why she did it? When I was very new to cooking for the wrong husband, she left me a small stack of hand-written recipe cards. Deep in the pile was a recipe for banana cream pie in which (after the ingredients and mixing instructions, amid the cooking steps) she tucked the message, “Remember me fondly as you stir, for I love you dearly.” The recipe and its message have long outlived the marriage. I love you too, “Duch,” more than either of us knew then.