Iris blooms and Easter memories

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This Easter looks a lot different. No fancy dresses to wear to Sunday morning service. No large lunches at the grandparents’ house. No hard-boiling eggs and dipping them in white vinegar and food coloring then hiding them out in the yard. No forgetting about that one egg your dad hid so well that no one can find for at least a week until it starts to rot in the backyard tree. Yes, Easter looks a lot different this year and that is ok. What matters most is being with the people you are currently with and enjoying the time you have.
Earlier this week all my light purple irises bloomed. They always bloom before Good Friday. I think I look forward to them blooming more than any other plant I have. There is just something about the sweet, calm smell of an iris that I wish I could bottle up and keep year-round. My grandmother loved Easter and loved irises – the light purple ones like I have were some of her favorites.
Anytime I stop at a nursery to look at flowers I gravitate first toward the irises. Sometimes I am lucky and the color iris is labeled on the outside of the pot. Other times I have to play a guessing game and wonder if I buy it what color will bloom. I’m still looking for black, white and orange irises – so far with no luck. But the best part of Easter is knowing that all those plants I love that have been gone for the colder months are finally starting to hit their spring prime and grow.
I’ve been being a librarian from home for the past few weeks and I have spent a lot of that time doing library work from the front porch. It’s been a surreal peaceful time that has brought on rest, catchup time on projects, and reflection time. After filming a story time the other day I noticed all those irises coming to bloom. I spent the next few hours just admiring them, listening to the birds chirp, and thinking about my grandmother.
My grandmother passed away on Easter many, many, many years ago. I’ve never forgotten that – not only did I stay awake all night at the hospital with my mother, waiting to see what would happen, but I remember my mom handing me a mint green plush bunny rabbit. What I would do now to have a large, mint green bunny in my thirties. If not for anything other than the significance that it held. One tradition was that I always had a bunny rabbit on Easter. The Easter bunny always brought s new bunny and perhaps since then I’ve always been keen to bunny rabbits.
While I have always grown with a hole in my heart not getting to share milestones with my grandmother, I’m comforted in the little habits and loves that she left me and didn’t realize it – like enjoying Easter, dying those eggs and making on that is multi colored and purple, and watching irises bloom, digging my nose deep in their blooms to smell that sweet goodness that only lasts a few days.
Be sure to call your loved ones this Easter. Just because you are stuck at home and in quarantine doesn’t mean that Easter memories must go to waste. Facetime your family. Talk to them for a bit and let them know you love them.
The Easter bunny visited Scottsboro a week ago to deliver the Wizard lots of Easter goodies – including a basket full of chocolate, a new blue scooter that lights up, and a stuffed bunny rabbit. Good times for all and good memories to hold on to forever.

Laura Pitts is a former Daily Mountain Eagle reporter. She is currently director of the Scottsboro Public Library.