Had Iris Pushed Up The Daisies?

As one who’s been “deeply rooted” in my boyhood home for five+ decades, I’m fully aware of my home turf (inclusive of my late mother’s flowerbeds). Even after a few random, squirrel engineered transplants, most of her perennials’ bulbs, to this very day, remain right where she had left them fifteen Aprils ago… on the mild, sunshiny, spring morn she had passed on.

Towards the end of my 22 hour deathbed vigil, I could virtually envision Mom finishing her final leg of the human race and passing off the baton to me… such a handoff not only a gesture of her undying hopes that my life would continue to go onward, but that I’d also maintain my reverence for family traditions.

No small part of these conventions was/is our mutual respect for Mother Nature… my Mom’s flower gardens offering up a living testimonial… the natural outgrowth of such shared sentiments inspiring my solemn vow…

For as long as I’m alive, Mom’s flowers and my memory of her will live on, too.

However… and most regrettably… there had been one baton dropping instance. While busily tending to other areas of my life, I had forgotten how the ol’ family homestead’s roof overhang oft prevented rainwater from reaching her prized, purple Irises. And, due to my neglect, Iris’ blooms and foliage had all but vanished off the face of the earth.

Iris’ untimely death went far more than bulb deep, too. You see, Mom had transplanted her bulbs from our previous residence… a wondrous locale where I had spent the first seven years of my life… where just one aspect of our entire world opening up to my wide-eyed, younger self, had caused me to pause, marvel and mull over the intricate, grand design of Iris’ surreally shaped and multihued blooms.

Fast-forwarding to many years later… mid-April 2017… it was while tending to Mom’s daffodils that my peripheral vision detected a totally unexpected, slight glimmer of green. It required my doing a double take and then stooping down to confirm the “impossible”. A single, solitary, barely 2.5cm, fragile Iris leaf was poking through the soil… desperately ISO the warmth of the early spring sunshine and a cool drink of water.

Not unlike my boyhood response to first discovering Iris’s blooms, I found myself in wide-eyed wonderment. In less time than it took to express my “OH WOW” disbelief, I had redirected my sprinkling can’s nozzle… my subsequent regular watering causing her to sport a profusion of lush, healthy green foliage by the time Jack Frost had paid his first visit last fall. And, naturally, as soon as 2018’s spring had sprung, I immediately resumed my labor of love.

Just this past Monday… May 21st… Iris, having stored up sufficient energy, flowered for the very first time in many years. Just this morning, she’s proudly displaying three of her wide open, purple and yellow hued blooms for all to behold and adore.

Iris’ death defying attitude has been enlightening and jaw dropping inspirational. She not only exemplifies the preciousness and persistence of life but also reminds us not to give up too quickly… not even when all is seemingly hopeless.

 

 

This blog expands on my 06/05/17 post titled “Dormant Seeds? Unpromising Soil?” and features a blend of quoted / paraphrased old passages interwoven within my new content.

 

Cindy Stowell’s Incredible Jeopardy Finale

 

The Cindy Stowell Story is heartwarming, inspiring and extraordinary. Despite the grim diagnosis of stage four cancer, she auditioned and proved herself fully qualified to appear on Jeopardy. Because she had advised the program’s accommodating staff of her medical condition, they had sped up their normal contestant selection process so she could compete sooner.

Only a few of the show’s producers and host Alex Trebek had known that the time she had left was limited.

Well… Stowell not only competed well but competed while ill.

During one taping, she had been nauseous, feverish and in need of painkillers… those meds slowing down her reaction time, which made signaling in to provide the questions to the answers an even greater challenge.

Even more miraculous, there had been a Jeopardy taping hiatus, which, purely by coincidence, had perfectly jibed with her need for hospitalization… allowing her sufficient time to regain her strength… to come back to compete again.

In the end, champion Stowell had won $103,803, which she pledged to donate to the Cancer Research Institute. As for her six game winning streak, only 38 contestants have equaled or exceeded that plateau since Jeopardy’s “five wins and out” rule ended in 2003.

Though she died on December 5th (a little more than a week before her episodes were to air on TV), thanks to the kind folks at Jeopardy, the DVD they had provided allowed her to see three of her appearances.

As for my own reactions…

If I hadn’t been aware of Stowell’s story prior to watching her compete, I’d have never guessed in a million years how seriously ill she was. As far as I’m concerned, she could’ve also won an Academy Award for acting so healthy.

Seeing her dream of appearing on Jeopardy come to fruition had to have been the thrill of her lifetime and, doubtlessly, in giving her something to live for, kept her going strong a bit longer than had she wallowed in sorrow in some hospice bed.

I only wish she could’ve gone into remission, lived a good long life and appeared on Jeopardy’s Tournament of Champions.

When TV had gone digital back in 2009 I had ceased viewing all first run programming. I only reentered TV Land this past June after my sister had provided me a digital converter she no longer needed. Admittedly, I’d been feeling mostly underwhelmed about what TV had become during my seven year absence… well… at least until I had eye witnessed Stowell’s stunning display of courage… her looking at death squarely in the eye and telling it to go to hell.

Cindy Stowell had a fighting spirit… in the game of Jeopardy… in the game of life.

Her never say die determination has been an inspiration to millions… and I count myself among them. She will live on, forever, in the memories of all who witnessed her will to live.

I only wish I could’ve thanked Ms. Stowell in person.

My heartfelt condolences go out to her surviving family and friends.