He came striding out of a lane, a cheerful young fellow carrying a knot of flowers and whistling a happy tune.
As he passed us I touched his arm and said, “That sounds so lovely. My Dad used to whistle and I really loved to hear him.”
He stopped, smiled at me and pressed the bunch of wild flowers into my hand, turned and went on his way, again whistling.
I was overcome with such a wave of joy. It was hard not to cry. My husband, who witnessed my delight, patted me on the shoulder and said, ”That was a nice thing for him to do, wasn’t it?”
I agreed so wholeheartedly he looked somewhat shocked and said, “Come on, we’re going to be late if we don’t get a move on!”
So we walked on, me clutching the flowers and the lovely warm feeling that chance meeting had provided.
About a week later Jim, my husband, arrived home from work somewhat later than usual. As he came up the stairs into the kitchen I saw he was carrying a bouquet of wild flowers.
When he handed them to me I started to cry.
Normally he was not a demonstrative man and now he looked so concerned I cried even harder.
He said, “Oh honey, did you get stung?” And he put his arms around me and held me close.
“No,” I choked, “I’m fine. I’m just so happy.”
I knew he had stopped on his way home, gone into a field and picked every one of these wild flowers, thinking about me as he plucked each one, He never could seem to say, “I love you.”
When I would ask if he did, his answer was always, “surely you can tell!”
It was no wild declaration of love, but it was all he could manage and actually, in the end, it was enough.
Helen Lang has been the Peninsula News Review’s garden columnist for more than 30 years.