Luke wasn't used to celebrating almost every occasion - no matter how big or little - the way I do, but he liked getting used to it. A week or so before our first Easter together, we were at Lowe's and Luke bought a huge beautiful Easter lily for me. I balked at his paying "Lowe's" prices when Wal-Mart was selling them cheaper, but I loved him for thinking of it all by himself. It just so happened that we were going to Kentucky shortly after that and I hated leaving my lily here. Since I knew the truck would be filled to the brim with the things we were taking to Phelps and all the other stuff we had to take on each trip, I didn't say anything to Luke about it. He was one step ahead of me though. After we got everything in the overpacked truck, he took the lily and put it in a place he had saved for it. That lily looked out the back window all the way to Kentucky.

As Easter lilies do, it faded away after about a month and Luke planted it in the flower garden. The next year, we were in Kentucky for Easter again and he bought me a lily at Wal-Mart. It, too, was later planted in the flower garden. Last year, another beautiful lily found its way into our house and into my heart. It lasted for about two months and then Luke finally cut it off to about three inches above the dirt.

Luke liked fresh fruit and vegetables the whole year 'round and he always bought more than we could possibly eat before they ruined. I was always trying to keep ahead of rotting produce and "threatening" Luke if he continued to buy more than we could use. He saved and planted the seeds from almost everything. (I told people he was fruit challenged.) One day, I was cleaning a muskmelon and must have dropped a few seeds because the next day I found about six of them on the floor next to the sink. They were dried out and, without thinking anything would come of them, I planted them around the stub of the lily.

A few days later, Luke was looking out the kitchen window and said, "Well, will you look at that? I planted some of the insides of the lily blooms and they're coming up." I just chalked it up to Luke's green thumb until about a week later. He had been nurturing the "lily" plants and was talking about planting them outside when the weather got warm enough. He wanted me to look at them and, when I did, I recognized melon plants! I sort of hated to tell Luke, but I couldn't let him go on thinking the melons were lilies, so I told him. He was just as excited about having melon plants as he was about the lilies. Opal came over a day or so later, and he showed them to her and told her the story.

As the three plants got bigger, they had to be transferred to Styrofoam cups. We kept them in the windowsill where they could get plenty of sunlight. When it got warm enough, we planted them outside in the flowerbed. By the time we left in July, they were running and blooming. We never found out if there were ever any melons on them. We never got to eat any of the tomatoes from the tomato plants we planted and cared for. We never got to see the gladiolas bloom. We almost killed ourselves and spent a fortune on potting soil and little white fences to put around all the flowerbeds. We planted three gardens in Woodstock and never got to harvest anything. We planted tulips, chrysanthemums, phlox and many other bulbs we never saw bloom. The tulips we planted here in 1999 are blooming now, but Luke never got to see them once. The first one to bloom this year was a beautiful yellow one.

There is no lily this year. There are no Easter baskets filled with junk that neither of us needs. There is no Luke with that little-boy look on his face when he sees what "the Easter bunny" put in his basket. There are no Easter cards with love notes in themů.no hugs. All I have left are sweet memories and a broken heart.

It seems like Luke and I started a lot of things we never got to finish - like growing really old together.

Kathleen McCoy Eldridge© March 31, 2002 All Rights Reserved

Beethoven's Pathique Sonata
Performed by Margi Harrell