They lined our back fence at the far end of the vegetable garden when I was young.
They seemed waist high but surely were not.
I remember the vivid colors. They shone like satin and felt like velvet.
A deep purple; their filigree tongues lined a bright yellow orange.
There were various shades of cream and yellow and blue but purple was my favorite.
I remember their beauty in my safe back yard, just a short walk to Sue Sue’s house across the alley.
Sometimes my mother cut them and put them in a vase for our dining table.
Their heads opening sunward, wider each day, until they fell apart petal by petal.
I often wonder if she could view them from her kitchen window – tucked so far back behind the garage.
Their appearance, along with the rose bushes in the front yard and the smell of honeysuckle down the street meant springtime.
And springtime in a small town meant freedom.
Freedom to ride away on our Schwinn’s.
Freedom to walk far from home on adventures.
Until mother’s voice rang loud and clear throughout the neighborhood calling us home.
It meant chicks and ducks in a range of Easter colors and frilly dresses over petticoats,
Bonnets tied under our chins and patent leather Mary Jane’s.
It meant dad’s fried chicken after Sunday church and the smell of mother’s cookies baking after school.
It meant home.
I bought the three stemmed plant of purple Iris two days ago when their large display of color called to me and thoughts of mother planting bulbs of Cannas, Gladioli and Iris took me home.