A living memorial
By MARY TOBIA
Bring on the flowers.
At this time of the year I get very anxious to start working in our back yard.
My husband is the gardener.
The vegetable patch is his kingdom and I know not to tread there.
I love my little herb garden with its basil, chives with their small purple flower, and my oregano that survives every year.
I like to get the soil ready for my little flowers beds, which will come alive with Pansies, Petunias and Impatiens of all colors.
The one thing that always surprises me about our backyard is our annual Irises that spring out of the ground.
They are in the worst part of the yard with hardly any sun and bad soil.
But each spring they continue to bloom their pretty purple and blue flowers.
A few days ago I read an interesting true story about these hardy plants.
Many years ago a Midwest farmer was renting some pasture land for grazing his large head of Black Angus beef cattle.
He was fixing the fence around the land one early May and came upon a small hill with two perfect rectangles of the Blue Flag Flowers in full bloom.
Blue Flag Flowers are cousins to the Iris flower.
The farmer's first thought was they indeed looked like the markings of two gravesites dug side by side.
A few years later he was able to meet the former landowner and he asked about the flowerbed high up on that hill.
It seems that a young Norwegian settler and his wife homesteaded there in the early 1880s.
The young couple had a small baby daughter but during their first harsh winter the young mother and her daughter came down with diphtheria and died.
The snow was so deep and the ground so frozen their bodies were placed in two wooden boxes built by a neighbor.
The young grieving settler kept those handmade coffins in a shed until spring and he dug the two graves and buried his wife and child high above the valley.
He probably had no money for a permanent marker so he planted the Blue Flag Flowers in the overturned soil.
The story went on to say that soon after, the lonely young settler sold that claim of land for $300 and moved away.
That was over 100 years ago and those Blue Flag Flowers mark those simple gravesites even today.
Each spring a living memorial comes alive in remembrance to a young mother and daughter on a lonesome prairie somewhere in the middle of South Dakota.
I have always admired the courage of all those settlers who so many years ago faced many hardships as they forged their way to a new life on the American frontier.
After reading this interesting story I have an all-new respect for my own little, hardy Iris bed.