The lilacs are blooming here in old St. Paul. We have a big lilac bush in the narrow backyard of my apartment building-pretty much the only nice looking vegetation in the entire yard, a spot where the locals like to store their old tires and the occasional concrete block. The only nice looking planty, and itself is only nice for about one month a year.
We had an even larger lilac bush in my backyard growing up (it helped obstruct the view of the four-lane Highway 60 and the steel mill across the highway). Every spring my mom would send me out into the yard when the lilacs were in bloom, snip off a few branches, and bring them inside for her to put in a vase. I can't remember how we fell into this pattern-why not my step-dad, or my sister? Maybe it was because I was the Yard Boy regularly, with a penchant for mowing and weed pulling (for the right price, of course. I had a baseball card habit to feed). Anyhow, I used to head outside with a knife or a machete or a pair of scissors and return with some sweet smelling lilacs and it made my mom happy. The past few springs in Midway I've been keeping up the tradition, even after my landlord caught me one year with a fistful of purple and a goofy smile on my face. I just bring in the lilacs and think of Mom.