Today, I am thankful for Elsie, 1933-2011.
From an aunt, long ago:
"Death has come for me many times
but finds me always in my lovely garden
and leaves me there, I think,
as an excuse to return."
Elsie - writer, teacher, philosopher, historian and gardener extraordinaire - died unexpectedly on May 15. The annual Horticultural Art Society plant sale for which Elsie managed several key functions, also ended that afternoon. She wasn't there, however. The June HAS newsletter reported that she did not feel well on Saturday and left the sale early to go home and rest. She died the next day.
I didn't volunteer for the plant sale this year, although Elsie called and asked me to do so. I just didn't have the time or energy for this extracurricular activity. I regret that I did not return her call.
Elsie's death caught me completely by surprise. I missed the announcement, missed her funeral, missed saying good-bye. I know the plant sale volunteers will miss her at this year's celebration picnic. Picnic early birds could enjoy a small glass of her fresh strawberry or peach daiquiri, spiked, of course, with a splash of white rum.
Elsie encouraged me to be adventurous with my plant selections and inspired my small but interesting perennial edible garden. She was a tireless and generous resource for horticultural information. Now, we will no longer be able to say, "Ask Elsie."
My dad died last year on May 15. Now, sadly, Elsie's name joins his on my calendar.
For this blessing, I am grateful.