Locust Bloom Winter

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, Heart of Hollyhill

May 13, 1964
Jocie Brooke here reporting for the Banner. It’s been a cool day here in Hollyhill. Way too cool. Last Friday it was 80 degrees and so hot that when I got home from school, I broke out my pedal pushers and wore a sleeveless shirt to the Banner office. Wes wanted me to help him clean up the press room. Cleaning up isn’t anything Wes thinks is fun. You can look at his hands and see that. Anyway, Zella took one look at me and said I was pushing the season. 

Could be she was right, because the season pushed back today. The temperature didn’t even climb all the way to 60 degrees. Aunt Love kept looking at the thermometer on our porch and saying the thing was surely broken. But then Dad came in talking about the locust trees being in full bloom, and Aunt Love said well, that was it. Locust winter. She has a winter for every cool snap from redbud winter to blackberry winter and a dozen in between. She even talks about linen britches winter. I guess Zella might say it was pedal pusher winter. 

I put on a sweater and went outside to see if I could smell the locust blooms. The trees are loaded down this year and the air was full of their perfume. Locust blooms smell wonderful. Dad says it’s the best fragrance ever. He even smelled it once while he was on the submarine during World War II. No way there could have been any locust blooms on the submarine, but Dad says he smelled them. Dad thought maybe that meant the enemy’s torpedoes were going to sink them. That the Lord was giving him a last gift and memory of the farm back here in Holly County. But then instead of dying, the Lord called him to preach. It’s a pretty crazy story, but Dad says the Lord can use whatever he wants to send us a message. It all belongs to him. 
I like the locust blooms fine, but I have to admit that I think lilac blooms have them beat on the fragrance front. The lilacs are gone, the last blooms knocked off by that hard rain we had last week. But I did bury my nose in some blooms before that happened. A person does need to be careful not to share the bloom with a bee when doing all that sniffing. 

But now the yard is fragrant from the locust trees growing along the edge of the yard. It’s a good thing the trees have these sweet blooms. Else every one of them would be cut for firewood. They drop thorny branches down to stick in unwary bare feet in the summer and they have little old leaves that barely make a shade. Worse than that, Aunt Love is absolutely sure they draw lightning. She could be right since lightning in a storm last summer made a blaze down one of the tree trunks. 

But Dad says to give the trees a break, that every time he sees them or smells their blooms, he remembers why he’s a preacher. You can get the whole story in that book, Scent of Lilacs. And also find out how the Lord used lilacs to send a message to me. Not to preach. Heavens, no. Wouldn’t that set a few church people on their ears if the Lord called a girl to preach? It would scare me to death too. I’m hoping he’ll just call me to be a kid for a while longer and then when the time comes, he can poke some ideas in my head on what I can do when I grow up.

What flower fragrance do you like best?