In June of 1965, on a gloriously warm southern California day, I stood in the back yard of our newly-purchased first home holding my two week old son in my arms while admiring the exceptionally beautiful periwinkle-blue morning glory flowers on the vines that were growing along the short wire fence that divided our property from the elderly Mrs. Thorson's. As a new homeowner, I found everything in our realm nothing short of miraculous, and the little morning glory that I had tended and coaxed along the wire fence was no exception.
Mrs. Thorson, a no-nonsense, hard working New Englander, was an exceptionally tall and lanky woman, all elbows, knees and determination as she worked at pulling weeds on her large property. With a defiant expression on her face, she easily yanked the clumps of weeds from the hard summer soil. There was no doubt that she came from hearty stock as she tirelessly worked her way along the fence. When she finally straightened from her work and wiped the sweat from her brow, her face broke into a wide smile as she saw the baby I held in my arms. As she leaned in to get a closer look, her arm came over the fence, her large hand wrapped fully around the morning glory vine, and with one swift pull, the roots easily lost their hold in the soil and the whole thing traveled through the air to join the other weeds in the steadily growing mound! "I hate those weeds, don't you?" Those were her final words as she strode away......
"Yes," I said, as I closed my gaping mouth, "I do too......"
MORNING GLORY EPILOGUE: Do you remember years ago when Reader's Digest had a long-running section entitled something like: "My Favorite (or my Most Amazing) Character?" Mrs. Thorson was my favorite character.
I still smile over that whole incident; it just tickled me so much that this practical, hard-working, no-nonsense woman thought she was helping a young mother to keep her yard "weed"-free. It would never have occurred to her that she wasn't helping. When my husband came home from work that night, I told him what she had done, and we both had a good laugh! She was eternally "helpful." I knew, even back then, that she was a good woman with a serious veneer. She didn't go around with a smile on her face, but when she did smile, it was like the sun had risen.
She helped me raise my children, and was always coming over to "give me a break." She would head for the kitchen to do my dishes, or go get the vacuum and start cleaning, or sometimes she'd just push me out the door while she stayed and watched the kids.
You can always find another morning glory, but you could never replace Mrs. Thorson.