To me, lilacs are the essence of spring. I especially love the French purple variety.
My kids are aware of my delight with these fragrant blooms, as I have shared many times with them the history of their Dad and me and a bunch of lilacs.
Even though their father (Dick) and I are no longer together, what happened that Mother's Day when I was pregnant with our first son remains a humorous and precious family memory.
Dick was in his senior year at Pharmacy School and I'd very recently quit my job in the hospital's medical records department. Money was very tight. We lived in a dinky one bedroom furnished apartment within walking distance of the University.
The largest room of the three was our kitchen. This space consisted of a small table and two chairs (doubling as our living room), a refrigerator, a metal sink unit with minimal cupboard space, and a lonely hot plate on its stand against one of the walls.
To the left of the sink was a rear window. Looking through that window, we could view a small plot of land that could very loosely be defined as an overgrown courtyard; it bordered the back of buildings on all sides. In the middle of that forgotten plot of land was a huge lilac bush, overburdened with their purple blooms.
On that Mother's Day, Dick decided he was going to get me some lilacs.
The first problem was the only access to that bush was through the window. Unfortunately, it was raised a bit from the ground beneath. But, Dick came up with a plan and enlisted my help.
My job was to hold the window open while he cautiously leaned over the threshold of the window to carefully lower one of the kitchen chairs to the land below. Miraculously, he was able to land the chair in an upright position.
Feet first, Dick then lowered himself through the window, and slowly snaked his way to successfully stand on the seat of the chair. In a matter of minutes, his arms were overflowing with branches, leaves and blooms.
The next hurdle was getting the flowers into the kitchen. Dick needed my assistance again. While he stood on the chair, I and my swollen belly reached down from the window, and latched onto the bouquet. Once I had the flowers in the sink, Dick held his arms up while I leaned over to give him a hand-hold while he shimmied up and back into the kitchen.
Wow! Success! We'd done it!
But then we realized that the kitchen chair was still on the ground below. Now what? (We were just kids and what comes next is a definite reflection of that.)
After some thought, Dick proposed a solution. He would crawl out the window head first while I grabbed his lower legs. Once he got hold of the chair, I was to pull on his legs and help guide him and the chair back through the window. As unlikely as it sounds, that maneuver worked!
And so the lilacs, Dick, and the chair all made it safely into the kitchen.
Since it's lilac season once again, I went to my friends' house this afternoon to cut my yearly allotment of her French purples. Tonight, their fragrance surround me.