What My Father Slowed Down For

Upon planting a hollyhock in Louisville.

and sometimes seven,
if he could get the hours.

What with a wife and five children,
plus a mother-in-law
who showed up on the doorstep one day,
bag and baggage,
to hold us together.

But he somehow found time each summer
to put in a few Jersey tomatoes,
watch over a hydrangea he cared for like a little child
and tend his roses.

and occasional Saturday mornings
when I was ten,
“to let the younger men
just starting families
have the hours,” he said.

But his own dad had died just that spring
and he needed to make more frequent runs
to see his mother –
to pay her bills,
do her grocery shopping
and push the mower around her postage-stamp backyard.

He was a hard worker, but he’d slow down
to point out hollyhocks wherever he spied them, saying,

“Aren’t they something, standing so straight and tall?
I’d like to try those someday.”
I don’t recall whether he ever did.

But every place Wally and I have lived
we’ve put in at least one hollyhock,
a reminder of Daddy and to stand up straight,
no matter what the other flowers are doing
and despite storms, which are part of life.


* * *

Just more of my Summer 2016 Challenge.


About Marilyn

Reading, thinking, listening, writing and talking about faith, creativity, ESL for refugees, grief and finding the story in a story. Student of Spanish. Foe of procrastination. Cheez-it fan. People person with hermit tendencies or vice-versa. Thank you so much for reading.
This entry was posted in @ play, lush garden, summer 2016 challenge. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to What My Father Slowed Down For

  1. pastordt says:

    Love this. And love good dads. And holly hocks. Thanks, M.


  2. elizabethfstewart says:

    Love this!


  3. Belinda says:

    Hollyhocks are beautiful and what a wonderful way to honour your dad!


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