Rhodies in my yard. No way I planted these flourishing bushes. They came with the house, lucky for me, along with azaleas and a small stand of yellow iris. I’m not the gardening type, despite a heritage from both my father and grandmother. But I do love flowers.

Rhododendrons don’t grow in Colorado where I grew up. The first tine I ever saw them was in England on my first big trip abroad.

I’m going to take a short detour here and describe our departure in NYC. We are dressed up (! – but doesn’t such a special trip demand special clothes?) Daddy wears a seersucker suit and he’s nervous. When we get to the front of the check-in line, he produces the passports. There are only four; his is missing! I have an image of him frantically patting his pockets then turning to Mother. “You go on with the girls. I’ll follow.” Of course Mother was having none of it and eventually the passport was located in a hidden pocket in his suit.

We flew overnight to Scotland, sleeping only about two hours in our excitement and inbetween meals. In a pinch of bad planning but with the understandable urge to see everything at their own pace, my parents had decided to rent a car. Remember, they drive on the left in the British Isles. Off we went, my sisters and I sleeping in the back seat. After a couple of close calls with horns and squealing brakes, we learned: When we felt the car turn, we’d waken and in chorus call out, “To the left, Daddy, to the left.” Then back to sleep. I know we stopped at Loch Ness – no monster – but the rest of the trip is a green blur.

We arrived at a lovely castle-like hotel, ate dinner and then went walking on the grounds, finally wide awake. And there I saw the glorious bushes in full flower. Because it was still light, we walked and chatted and admired the flowers until suddenly Mother looked at her watch. It was past 10! So ended our first day in Europe.


  1. Kerri says:

    Beautiful Rhodies! And I love the part about waking up in the backseat to tell your father to stay to the left. So adorable.

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