From Under the Lilac Bush

Ann H Gabhart Heart of Hollyhill

April 28, 1965

Jocie Brooke here reporting from Hollyhill. Actually, I’m reporting from under the lilac bush in our front yard. Can you smell them? Ahhh. They’re wonderful. The butterflies like them too, but I couldn’t get the butterflies to pose for my camera. They kept flitting away and film isn’t cheap as Dad is continually telling me. But Dad likes the lilac bush too. He says he doesn’t know how old the bush is but that it’s been in that corner of the yard ever since he can remember. He thinks maybe his grandmother planted it, but he doesn’t know for sure. Whoever did, I thank them!

My dad and I, we have roots that go deep. He grew up in this house that now I’m growing up in. His daddy grew up in the house before him. A room or two has been added on since then, but the front two rooms are the same. Well, we’ve

painted and papered it a few times. The living room is great. That wallpaper has bunches of flowers from the floor to the ceiling. You should have been here when I was helping Aunt Love put that on. That was a riot. Maybe I’ll write about that sometime.

Anyway, sometimes I feel the walls watching me and maybe comparing me to the Brooke people who came before. I probably don’t compare too good with them. Then, a few times, I hear something. You know stuff like footsteps upstairs when nobody’s upstairs. That can give you the heebie-jeebies, let me tell you. But Dad says that old houses just do a little creaking and that sometimes creaking can sound like footsteps. Wes tells me not to worry about it. It’s probably just somebody from Jupiter who got lost trying to get back to his spaceship. Aunt Love claims it’s only Jezebel, her cat. Of course, she doesn’t say Jezebel. She calls the cat Sugar. But trust me, there’s nothing sweet about Jezebel.

But there’s plenty sweet about the scent of lilacs. Ahhh! Love sitting under the bush and having the lilac scent fall around me. Makes me remember God’s blessings. Dad says anything can do that. A new baby. A table full of food. A church full of people. A Bible story. He’s been preaching about Noah and the flood. Last Sunday was about Noah sending out a dove after the rain stopped. First time it came back with nothing, but the second time Noah sent it out, it brought back an olive leaf. 

Now I know you’re not supposed to add or take away anything from the Scripture, but I don’t think the Lord minds when I sometimes like to imagine the dove brought back a lilac bloom instead of that olive leaf. Now, wouldn’t a lilac bloom have been a fresh bit of hope for Noah and his family after being stuck in the ark so long? Can’t you just imagine how that place had to smell with all those animals on board? Eww! I mean, I’ve been in a barn with nothing but pigs and cows and chickens. And it was plenty stinky. But then I guess Noah’s sons had plenty of water to wash the ark out when they needed to. Do you suppose they just reached their buckets out the ark windows and dipped some up?

Dad says it can be interesting to wonder about the nitty gritty details of a Bible story, but that the important part is the lesson. With the Noah story, it was about how he was faithful, and because of that, he and his family got to start the world over. 

Even so, if you end up somewhere stinky, I hope you’ll have a lilac bloom to sniff on. Or can pull it up from your memory. And remember that book, Scent of Lilacs, is still free as a download from, or Barnes & Noble

That’s all I know about that except the cover has lilacs on it. You have to read the whole story to find out how important lilacs are to me in that book.

Do you love lilacs? Do you have a bush that’s blooming in your yard right now? Has the bush been there ever since you can remember? If not, I’ll share mine with you. Just remember…