I’m on my second year of growing poppies. These majestic yet delicate flowers evoke many memories for me, especially the profusions of them blanketing the terraces and meadows at the wake of springtime in Lebanon.
So, when I saw poppies dancing along a white picket fence like ballerinas practicing on their studio bar right here in Waco, Texas, I was so startled that I almost ran my car up into this particular yard.
Subsequently, that very spring, I intentionally re-routed my errand runs so that I could soak in the pleasure of these brilliant red poppies! On one of these detours, I observed an elderly gentleman dressed in his faded overalls, a bleached-out longsleeved khaki work shirt, and a beat-up straw cowboy hat tending his garden. Besides poppies, this obvious veteran gardener grew a picturebook of other flowers as well as rows of corn and assorted vegetables.
My thought on this particular drive-by sighting was, “I sure would love to glean some master gardening wisdom from him!”
Therefore, one carefree spring day, as I drove by this gardening vignette yet again, I impulsively turned around, pulled up into the gentleman’s driveway, and gingerly approached him, emphasizing that I was not soliciting him for anything! I explained that I was a fellow avid gardener and just wanted to stop and admire his poppies. He visibly relaxed and there ensued a lovely two hours of swapping gardening stories. I walked away with a baggy of poppy seeds, an armload of iris bulbs, and a mental notebook full of gardening wisdom.
I later mused on my extraordinary afternoon and asked myself, “Do I regularly take the time to recognize opportunities to speak to the wise elders in my life?”
We often are guilty of dismissing our seniors and relegate them to their recliners or favorite church pews barely giving them any attention besides a perfunctory greeting. When was the last time you took advantage of the opportunity to ask seniors in your community non-routine questions? Did you graciously receive their stories and attentively listen to their responses?
Yes, the poppies caught my attention, but the storied afternoon captured my soul!
What elder story have you heard lately?
You must stand up in the presence of the aged, honor the presence of an elder.