Monday, December 3, 2012

A Red Poinsettia

My mother grew up with a Poinsettia in the house every Christmas, and both of her grandmothers always had them in their homes…I suspect that they were purchased every year by my Grandma Cappy.  They were a favorite flower of hers and I never remember a Christmas without a Poinsettia in her home.  During her later years, my mother usually made brought the Poinsettia to her just as my grandmother had done for her mother in law and mother.  It seemed to be a tradition.  When my Grandma Cappy died in 1985, Mom would still buy the Poinsettia…but she would buy an artificial one and place on her grave.  When my Grandma Marian moved to Lewiston in 2001, one of the first things that my mother bought her that Christmas season was a beautiful Poinsettia for her home.  As Mom and I decorated her small apartment, Grandma Marian protested that she didn't really need such a fuss, but Mom and could tell that she was delighted with the decorations and especially enjoyed the Poinsettia. Grandma Marian spent most of her life watching practically every penny that she spent.  That came from a lifetime of trying to make sure she always had money in the bank.  She had grown up during the depression and had spent too many years with a growing family and not enough money to go around.  During those years, she rarely bought anything for herself…especially anything that might be thought of as a luxury. 

After my mother died in 2005, I continued to take a Poinsettia every year to my Grandma Marian as well as an Amaryllis…I always loved watching how quickly it grew and loved the beautiful blooms.  Last year, Grandma was slowing down…but I still brought her the Poinsettia and Amaryllis.  I think that it gave her a lot of joy to watch the Amaryllis grow quickly because it was placed where she could watch it every day.  Her Poinsettia was also where she could watch and enjoy it. 

Every time I stopped by or talked to her on the phone, she would ask how my Amaryllis was doing.  It didn't bloom nearly as soon as hers nor with nearly as many blooms.  During those last few weeks of her life, those flowers gave her a lot of pleasure.  In fact, her Amaryllis finished blooming just as she passed away on December 30th

Today, it is a Christmas tradition for me to have a Poinsettia in the house and an Amaryllis growing.  I've never had a Christmas without a Poinsettia.  When I look at the Poinsettia today – it symbolizes the women in my life who have had such an impact on me.  My mother who could never have enough Poinsettias – who loved the colors, twinkling lights and glitter of Christmas.  Her mother, Grandma Cappy who didn't go much for the decorating but always had the Poinsettia in a primary position in her home.  Granny Shearer who would keep the Poinsettia alive for many weeks and even months after Christmas.  Grandma Marian who never really bought things like Poinsettias for herself but loved receiving them.  In many ways, I think that Grandma Marian might have enjoyed them more than any of them.  She truly enjoyed their simple beauty and color. 

This nativity scene was painted by mother back in 1973 as a gift for her mother.
Now...I always display it with a Poinsettia in the background as they both loved Poinsettias.
A few weeks ago, Dad and I bought some artificial Poinsettias and placed them at my mother and Grandma Cappy’s grave.  Dad put a stake in them so they would stay put and not blow away in the wind or weather.   That morning, Dad and his sisters went up to Freeze cemetery and put a Poinsettia down on my Grandma Marian’s grave.  My mother and both of my grandmothers all impacted my life in so many ways – I think of them daily and especially at Christmas time.  The Poinsettia has become not just a symbol of the Christmas season…but also of these wonderful, smart, loving women.  

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