By Jeff Salter
Delighted to have Heather Gray visiting today. I’d asked her to bail me out this week because I know nearly nothing about flowers — which is our scheduled topic. So Heather wrote her way through the back door, with a quirky, tongue-in-cheek approach that I find quite refreshing. Hope y’all enjoy it as much as I did.
A Classical Love-Hate Relationship
By Heather Gray
Were you an amazingly gifted child who could do extraordinary things with little to no effort at all? I was! I could draw anything and make it look like a complete disaster. Of course, I wasn’t actually trying to make my pictures look that bad. That’s where the “no effort at all” comes in. I could completely and utterly ruin any artistic endeavor without breaking a sweat. I didn’t study. There was no homework. I didn’t have to recite the gobbledegook tenants of drawing. I was simply that good, a natural you might even say.
I know, I know. It’s hard, but I want you to try to control your envy. I’m sure you, too, are quite good at doing certain things. Perhaps you can perform higher mathematics in your mind. Or create architectural masterpieces with toothpicks. Maybe you can grow amazing flowers in your garden. Or walk on your hands while drinking orange juice. Whatever it is, I’m sure you, too, have something at which you excel beyond mortal comprehension. Hard as it may be, try to celebrate your own strengths rather than give in to jealousy over mine.
Alas, I had one nemesis as an artistically disastrous child. There was one thing which, no matter how many times I drew it, people always seemed to know what it was. It was my kryptonite, my one glaring weakness. Normally when I drew something, there would be a lot of hemming and hawing while the teacher tried to guess what it was. In the end, she would always give up and ask me what the picture was supposed to be. That is, until that one fateful day when I drew a picture and, without any of her usual avoidance techniques, my teacher said, “Nice picture.” I, of course, could not leave it at that and demanded she tell me what I’d drawn. Her response? She had the gall to say, “Why, it’s a tulip, of course, and a lovely one, too.”
Thus began my lifelong love-hate relationship with tulips. They ruined my perfect record of effortlessly turning the simplest piece of artwork into the stuff of nightmares. Despite that, though, I was enchanted with them. As I got older, I began planting bulbs and waiting for my tulips to show up each spring. I would buy different colors and varieties, sometimes even ordering my bulbs online and getting them shipped all the way from Holland. Yet to this day, if someone asks me to draw a picture of a tulip, I break out in a cold sweat and have flashbacks to the day in grade school when I drew something and…people could tell what it was. I shudder now just thinking about it.
Freebie of the Day: While most people believe tulips originally come from Holland, they were actually introduced to Europe via Turkey sometime before 1559 and then popularized by Holland in the later 1500s.
Some people get a mail order bride. She got a mail order man.
A well-meaning friend places an ad to find a mail order husband for Sarah, the proprietress of Larkspur’s stage and mail office. Sarah, who is generally quiet and reserved, doesn’t know about the ad and has no idea what to do with all the people showing up in her community. Before long, the town is overrun with men and mail alike. Sarah is trying to avoid some men who have accosted her on the street when she stumbles into Samuel. Through long days spent together at the stage office, some very adventurous pots of coffee and a shared faith, the two become friends. Sarah knows that Samuel is hiding something from her, something important, but that doesn’t stop her heart from leaping wildly into love. Lacking the confidence to trust her heart, Sarah wars with herself over the feelings she can no longer deny. When some of the men who have come to town show their true intentions, a shootout follows. Sarah finally gets answers to many of the questions circling through her mind. One question remains, though. Where will her mail order bride go when the dust settles?
Aside from her long-standing love affair with coffee, Heather’s greatest joys in life are her relationship with her Savior, her family, and writing. Years ago she decided it would be better to laugh than yell. Heather carries that theme over into her writing where she strives to create characters that experience both the highs and lows of life and, through it all, find a way to love God, embrace each day, and laugh out loud right along with her.