Sunday, December 21, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Randall: A bouquet of memories about grandmother

By
From page B5 | July 21, 2014 |

My grandmother was a master gardener. She grew dahlias and chrysanthemums, sweet peas and hydrangeas, tomatoes and corn, green beans and squash, sustenance for body and soul.

She could make anything bloom. Even me.

For most of her life, she lived on a farm in the mountains of North Carolina, where she reared four children, buried a husband and took solace in the changing of the seasons, the constancy of Nature and the never-ending mysteries of life.

After my parents divorced, my dad moved back to the farm and worked at a nearby mill. I visited on weekends or holidays, whenever my mother allowed.

While my dad devoured my grandmother’s vegetables, I inhaled her flowers. There are different kinds of hunger. I was a skinny kid, never ate much. But her flowers filled a thousand hungry places in my soul.

My farm chores were few, but vital. I’d help my dad with the milking by holding the cow’s tail so it didn’t swat him in the face; scatter feed for the chickens and collect the eggs; dry the dishes for my grandmother and stand on my toes to put them away.

When my chores were done, I was free to roam the mountain singing songs, keeping an eye out for snakes and gathering an armload of blooms – both those she had planted and those that were, as she said, planted by the hand of God: wild azaleas and rhododendron, violets and pansies, Morning Glories that twined around fence posts in the pasture, Queen Anne’s Lace that grew in clumps by the road.

I also collected chiggers and ticks and other vermin that dug into my flesh and made me scratch like a flea-bitten hound.

My grandmother would dab liniment on the bites and say, “Beauty has a price. I hope it was worth it.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I’d say, “it was.” Then I’d scratch some more.

I loved gathering flowers on my own. But what I loved best was gathering them with her.

We’d hike for miles. She’d point to plants and rocks and birds and clouds while I trotted along behind her like a sponge with legs, trying to soak it all up.

At the end of the day, we’d sort the gatherings and choose our favorites to make bouquets: One for the living room, one for the kitchen and one each for our nightstands, hers and mine.

My dad said his room was too small for flowers, but I’d fill a Coke bottle to place by his bed.

Even then, as a child, I knew what I needed most from my grandmother was not her flowers, but her time.

She’s been gone for years, but still sometimes, when I reach down to pick a bloom or pull a weed, I see her hand, not mine.

I thought I’d grow up to be a gardener just like her. When my kids were small, I planted bulbs that got eaten by gophers. And pansies that got eaten by deer. And a whole lot of other stuff that just plain died. Finally, I gave up. I told myself, someday, when my children had children, I’d be a gardening grandma.

Then the grandbabies started showing up, and I discovered I’d much rather chase after them than go digging in the dirt.

The truth is, I’m no gardener. I spend more time pulling bags through an airport than weeds from a garden. I love watching things grow and bloom. But I’m a picker, not a planter.

I differ from my grandmother in lots of ways, but this: I will always carry within me a heart she grafted from her own.

I don’t need to plant a garden. My flowers are in bloom. Randy is a Tiger Lily. Henry is Morning Glory. Wiley is a Sweet Pea. Charlotte is Queen Anne’s Lace.

I wish you could see them.

They delight and exhaust and complete me with a kind of beauty that is worth any price.

All I need to do is tend them with time, water them with love, and hope that someday, when they hold their first grandchild, they just might see my hand.

Sharon Randall can be reached at P.O. Box 777394, Henderson, NV 89077, or on her website: www.sharonrandall.com.

Sharon Randall

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Blue Christmas service offers reflection, hope

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1

 
Shining bright for all to see: Locals deck out yards, homes

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1 | Gallery

The Salvation Army serves 1,000-plus across 2 days

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Time for annual Solano County quiz

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

Discovery Kingdom upgrades animal, marine mammal facilities

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
State Fair scholarship applications available

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Bevy of holiday activities at Western Railway Museum

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Get tested, know your status

By Morgan Westfall | From Page: C4

 
 
New development fees start Jan. 1 in Vacaville

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

Free New Year’s celebration slated

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

 
A word of warning for Senator Warren

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B7, 1 Comment

 
New technology chief will join McNaughton Newspapers

By Tanya Perez | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Fairfield police log: Dec. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: Dec. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Sky-high price has VA rationing hep C drug

By Tom Philpott | From Page: B10

.

US / World

Air Force admits nuke flaws, but will fixes work?

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
AP sources: Cops’ killer angry at chokehold death

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
Officials: Missing dog was dyed to deceive

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Immigrants build document trails to remain in US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

California officer kills teen after machete attack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
4 teens die in fiery head-on crash in Pennsylvania

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

2 dozen injured in southern Indiana bus crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Police brutality protesters rally at Mall of America

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Texas ranchers seeking alternative incomes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
North Korea proposes joint probe over Sony hacking

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

2 car bombs rock southern Sweden’s city of Malmo

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Bombings kill 12 in Iraq

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

US sends 4 Afghans back home from Guantanamo

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Panama’s Noriega in prison 25 years post-invasion

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Burying the dead after Pakistan’s school massacre

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
A chance to breach divide for young in Cuba and US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Opinion

Editorial Cartoon: Dec. 21, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
New school finance strategy lacks accountability

By Dan Walters | From Page: A8

Season’s greetings from the Obamas

By Alexandra Petri | From Page: A8

 
Sound off for Dec. 21, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Today in History: Dec. 21, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Why celebrate Christmas?

By Noel Reese | From Page: C3

Vatican offers olive branch to US nuns

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Horoscopes: Dec. 21, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

Should I ask grandson why we weren’t included in wedding photos?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

 
.

Entertainment

Review: ‘Five’ by Ursula Archer is intriguing

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

Publisher hopes to sell books through Twitter

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
Chris Colfer has multi-book deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

Jerry Lee Lewis: Sustained by brief blaze of glory

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

Interim coaching jobs present challenges in bowls

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
49ers squander 21-point lead in 4th straight loss

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

New Giants 3B McGehee eager to play back home

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Eagles near elimination, fall 27-24 to Redskins

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Raiders place cornerback Brown on injured reserve

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
No. 11 Lady Vols trounce No. 7 Stanford 59-40

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Big moves bring big hope for Chicago baseball

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
US skier Nyman wins Gardena downhill for 3rd time

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Vonn wins women’s World Cup downhill in France

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
This date in sports history for Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
.

Business

Your info has been hacked. Now what do you do?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
On the money: 4 ways to hold on to your cash when renting a car

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Recalls this week: Bean bag chairs, toy monkeys

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Scarecrows outnumber people in dying Japan town

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

.

Obituaries

Dominic C. Scolaro

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Barbara Jean Bidstrup Braker

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Perry Michael Smetts

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Luzdivina B. Banks

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Arnold Howard Evans

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Anthony Hanson Elder

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Marian Kay Zutz

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Bart Ferro

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics