© 2009 Marica

067 – Bouquets of love

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.
— William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet act II, sc. ii

The other day, on our trip home after our short break away, we made a detour to go and visit my mother-in-law followed by my sister-in-law (they live in two different towns).

Unfortunately when we arrived at my sister-in-laws she wasn’t home. She was however prepared for this possibility and left us a very detailed handwritten note full of instructions of things we had to collect or look at or do.


As you are reading this we obviously are still at the golf club. A’s closing day (which involves me) … Here is – in wash house-  a coffee cake – Happy Birthday! CDs – something to play loudly going home, u can singalong – photocopies and buttons.

I don’t suppose you have room for your tree which is at the back of house by dining window. If u take it don’t bump the top. To transport …[instructions given]… The key for house is …[instructions given] … if you need toilet, cuppa etc.

Oh there’s lemons, rhubarab (was still growing at 10am!), flowers, parsley and mint. Smells wonderful if nothing else.

Marked a couple of properties for you … [more instructions]…

J… has offered me a trip down south in Feb.

Take Tom and Silverbeet on step. The tiny SB are a paler breed.

Take a peek through the gate at my potatoes and strawberries. Going mental! O for some sun.

Look at my/mums latest babies [these were knitted toys].

Safe travels – You’ll have to come to the country more often!

As we  loaded up our already overloaded car with all the things she had left us I had to smile. Before we left we inspected the garden as instructed and I couldn’t believe the difference between her garden and ours. Hers is so lush, so well-tended. Ours looks a bit like a bomb has hit it this year.

I remembered all this as I looked at the bouquet of parsely, mint and chives sitting on our kitchen bench waiting to be used.

I was also reminded of another time … many years ago … when I was leaving my parents place.

Things were really tough then. My son was critically ill. My marriage had broken up. We had no money. We had lost our home and everything we knew and treasured in terms of family life. I had had to create a new home for us in a state rental property. We were living off a government benefit. We had nothing but each other and love – the love between my children and myself, the love of my family, our close friends, people from our local and ethnic communities, and even the love of strangers. It is truly when the chips are down that you find out who your real friends (and even family) are.

On this particular day, as we were leaving my parents place, my father asked if I wanted anything from the garden. Before I knew it my oldest daughter, Zofia, came back with her arms laden – parsley, celery, silverbeet, spring onions.

“This would make a great wedding bouquet,” said Zofia to me. “It smells great. It doesn’t make me sneeze or my eyes itch.” She then pranced around positioning the garden delights as though she was a bride ready to walk down the aisle.

My daughter may not remember this (do you Zofia?) but I do. I have thought of nothing else since I saw the bouquet my wonderful sister-in-law prepared for us to bring home and use in our culinary creations over the coming weeks.

As an aside, when Lynsey and I were getting married I did lots of research on wedding traditions. I discovered that in earlier times wedding bouquets were not made of flowers, instead they consisted of strong smelling herbs such as thyme and garlic. These herb bouquets were supposed to frighten away evil spirits and cover the stench of body odour (bathing was not a regular activity in those days).

Isn’t it great how the simplest of things can give such pleasure. Love and generosity of spirit supersedes everything. It’s got nothing to do with financial value it is all about the intentions of the giver and the receiver alike.

03. Every day is an opportunity to reflect on the past.
04. Every day is an opportunity to cultivate the promise of the future.
18. Every day express love. Some people need to hear it. Most people need to see it. Don’t take it for granted.