By Buffy Calvert
It doesn’t take much to make me happy.
In my 15 years in Andes, every year but one a little troupe of fluttery, excited children have skipped and hopped up the street, looking for signs of Spring.
And every year as the daffodils glow in the back garden, I wait and hope that I will be home when they come.
Last year with the forced false Spring in March whipped to a standstill by April snow and hail, we missed each other.
But today, April 25th, to my intense delight, I spy the kindergarten class skipping and hopping up the street led by Suzie Little, her face alight. They pause to marvel at the pussywilllow next door, then bounce right into my yard. The little ones ooh and aah at the pansies peeking back at them over the rims of the big stone urns, then race into the backyard and plunk down on their bottoms, just about eye level with the clumps of daffodils dancing before them.
I hold up my scissors. “Which clump shall we raid?” They choose the biggest one. Snip! One apiece, handed over with ceremony. “What is your name? Here is your daffodil!” No Anns or Marys. The girls pipe up, “Gabrielle,” “Isabella,” “Olivia,” “Alani” and others equally elegant; the boys: “Desmond,” “Noah” and the like.
They race up and down the paths, watch the shadow move across the sundial which Janice Armstrong patiently explains to them. They bend double to smell the hyacinths and pluck tiny white violets from the grass. A raven-haired beauty dances on the lawn, her small vivid face wreathed by a cloud of flying ebony tendrils. A sturdy girl in striped tights under boxy shorts steps into the garden. Her teacher gently admonishes her, “Keep on the path.” “Oh,” she shouts, pelting the curving length of the path, “Keep on the yellow brick path! Keep on the yellow brick path!”
A bunch discovers the coral paperweights on the picnic table. Noah holds the gray, spiral-ridged coral over his head, “I have a very big brain!” Desmond speeds across the grass, raises his face to me and breathes, “I love your house!” Another boy shows me a deep blue-violet flower clutched between thumb and forefinger. And learns to say, “Peri-winkle.”
The teachers quietly herd the children back to the sidewalk. “Good bye! Thank you!” I call. “Thank you! Good bye!” they respond. And march up the street carrying their daffodils before them like scepters. A royal procession.
It takes so little to make a child happy. ~