Eighty-Six Daffodils Down!

Daffodil BootyAs I backed the car out of the garage and turned south yesterday, we noticed a lot of activity in the church yard.  Two little girls, maybe in the seven or eight-year-old range were racing around the flower beds yanking up daffodils.  A boy, perhaps a year younger, galloped along beside them.  All were laughing and screaming in maniacal delight.

I hit the brakes.  Nyel hit the window button.

“What are you doing?” he called out.  The children didn’t miss a beat.  The kept grabbing the blossoms as shreds of stems and leaves scattered in their wake.

I was out my door and into the churchyard before the punctuation mark had been placed after Nyel’s question.  I was in full Incensed Teacher Mode.  In fact, I doubt very much if the kids I taught during those thirty-nine years ever saw me so angry.

“STOP!  RIGHT NOW!” And they did.  There was no mistaking my tone.  I turned to a woman just approaching the church.  “Are these children with you?”

She shook her head “no” and actually backed away from me.  I must have looked like the Mad Woman of Oysterville.

The children, meanwhile, were disappearing around the side of the church.

“GET BACK HERE!” I shouted.  Slowly they turned my way, waiting for an adult who suddenly appeared from behind the church,.

“Are you in charge of these children?”  Her response was an ever-so-slight nod accompanied by a deer-in-the-headlights kind of look.

“What on earth are you thinking?” I demanded.

“They were only taking them from behind the church,” she finally said.

“No, they weren’t.  I saw them right here in front.”

“Well, they were only supposed to pick the ones from the back.  Where it wouldn’t show…”

“Supposed to?!”  I remember only that I questioned her parenting ability, her concept of private property, mentioned stealing and vandalism and asked if she was prepared to pay for the flowers and the damage.  She uttered not a word in response, still looking  like a Bimbo Bambi.  By then, the children had gathered behind her, empty handed.

“Bring me the daffodils,” I said.  “All of them.”  They were retrieved from under the church where they had been stashed and reluctantly handed over.  Then the four of them got into their van (the little boy protesting, “Can’t we stay?  Do we have to go?) and off they drove.

And, thus it is that I have two giant vases filled with eighty-six somewhat tattered daffodils in my house.  After I had put them in water, we hurried on our way to the Columbia River Trio’s concert in Ilwaco.  Soothing as their music was, it took me well into the second half to calm down.

4 Responses to “Eighty-Six Daffodils Down!”

  1. Kathleen Shaw says:

    When I was volunteering at the Lacey library, one of the children’s librarians told me a story about a toddler pounding aimlesslly on a computer keyboard. She hustled over and started to say “No, no, honey” when the mother got all puffed up and said “WE don’t use the word NO!!!” I told the librarian it was a good thing I wasn’t working that day because I would likely have smiled and said “Okay!” to the mother and then turned to the toddler and yelled “STOP IT RIGHT NOW!”

    Hey, that isn’t using the “No” word, right?

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  2. Louise Labby Carroll says:

    You go, girl!!! Well done.

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  3. Stephanie Frieze says:

    Initially I was shocked reading your post because my children not only would have heard the word, no, they might have gotten a swat on the bum to get their attention. What was that woman thinking to stop in a place with which she is wholly unconnected and give her children permission to run wild through the church yard (of all places) tearing up the daffodils? On the other hand, as Kathleen has noted there is a philosophy in this country of not reining in children and the attitude of tourists (if in deed they were tourists) has frequently been that people don’t actually live on the Peninsula. Apparently the residents are just actors in their vacations. Thank goodness you and Nyel were available and willing to stop the carnage!

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    sydney Reply:

    Stephanie, I love that image of being an actor in the vacations of the tourists! I wish I felt comfortable writing fiction. That would make a great story plot — maybe sort of a sci-fi story. Or like “The Time Traveler’s Wife.” The mind boggles…

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