She pulls up to the front of the house,
and parks parallel in the driveway.
As she walks through the street door I see she is holding a small black bag.
Before she can speak I say, "no toilet paper?"
She continues walking toward me for our usual greeting of a hug,
but stops herself, remembering to keep a six foot distance between us.
In the awkwardness of the moment she takes a deep breath,
and smiling says, "I've brought you a gift!"
Sticking out of the top of the bag, is a bunch of pink roses
with just a hint of purple peeking through.
"Oh, Lilacs!" I say. (she knows they are my favorite)
"These are the very last blooms" she answers,
"I don't know if there will be a place for a lilac bush in the new garden plan."
Looking around for what to do with the flowers,
she sets them on top of my side wall planter.
We fall into conversation about PPE's, face masks,
and no toilet paper available for purchase.
As she leaves I walk back to my house holding the little black bag
with the flower bouquet tucked into the top.
I lift the bag to my nose and breath in the heavy scent,
eyes closing, my mind traveling back
to that brisk spring morning in South Dakota
on Oma and Opa's farm.
I am just three years old, and my father grips my tiny hand.
and brings me around the back to show me
the tall row of bushes filled with lavender blooms,
"This is what you are smelling," he says - a smile filling his whole face
as he watches me seeing them for the very first time.
I remember the tightness of his hand, and the filled air.
He is now in his 93rd year, and I'm beyond threescore and five.
He can't remember telling me about
that afternoon walk just six years ago,
on the very day she died, when Mom specifically pointed out
the last blossoms on the lilac bush next door.
When I ask if he remembers
showing me the lilac hedge as a child,
he tells me details I have never known . . .
the long wet grasses brushing our ankles
rows of Lily-of-the-valley against the house,
and my dancing and twirling around in delight,
wanting to pick all of the purple flowers
We recite our evening prayers together
joined with the rising fragrance from my bedside bouquet