Last Friday we journeyed down river to visit friends in Davenport, Iowa. Along the river roads, we stopped over in Red Wing for a lovely lunch at the St. James Hotel. It’s where we spent our first Valentine’s Day, where Brad proposed, and where we celebrated one of our early anniversaries. We wanted to share this history with the kids and revisit them ourselves – adding a fresh memory to the many treasured stories that already unfolded in this place.
Every time I see one of these huge puff balls, it brings me back to my 70’s childhood. We used to have to stop the car so my mom and grandma could climb into the ditch to pick them. Back home, they were given the AquaNet treatment and put on display.
The peonies are woven into my earliest memories. Before words, embedded in the cells of my childhood there is abundant beauty and intoxicating perfume and, of course, it’s all crawling with ants. The peonies in my mind’s eye sprawl luxuriously under trees in the backyard and around the houses of my grandmothers and great-grandmothers. They wrap me up in bittersweetness and leave too soon, their scent lingering on the summer breeze.