My aunt Ileana gave me this lovely present: a Meyer Lemon tree, delivered to my house. It’s a small variety that can grow in a planter or a yard with limited space. She knew I loved fruit trees but didn’t have much room for a large one. Ileana always put a lot of consideration into what gifts she gave people. I was happy that she came to my house and stayed with me for a week during the holidays in December. Then she stayed with my mother for another couple of weeks, just a few miles away. She was having trouble breathing at the time, so she couldn’t get around as much as she would have liked, but we still did things together. When I asked her if she would accompany me to Macys to help me choose a new set of pots and pans, she enthusiastically did. She helped me sort through the numerous sets on display, reviewing the attributes, analyzing the pros & cons of each set. After about an hour of this, I selected and purchased a set. Then she insisted on helping me carry one of the 2 bags out to the car. What a great aunt…and friend!
The little lemon tree blossomed and then started growing lemons in March. It’s so exciting when a new tree first flowers and first fruits. I took pictures of the growing lemons to show Ileana when I went up to visit her in the hospital, in Washington. She smiled at the photos. And she smiled when I showed her pictures of the beautiful table setting and Easter meal I had enjoyed at her favorite neighbors’ home, who live just a block from her house where I was staying. Ileana loved gourmet food and pretty things. She smiled at the photos I showed her of the spectacular Cherry Blossom trees in full bloom, in her beloved neighborhood. The first time I had ever seen Cherry Blossoms was with her. She would never see them again.
I always think of Ileana, especially when I look at a Cherry Blossom….or the little lemon tree.
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