Carnations meant something special when I was a kid. Mom would put one in the lapel button hole of my sports jacket - white shirt, bowtie, my Frank Sinatra hat and a carnation in my lapel. Hot stuff strutting ahead of my parents picking the bench my family would sit in during high mass. At eight I did not know what a high mass was, just that it meant mom would pick three carnations from the garden and put one in my lapel button hole and one in my two brothers button holes. It was something special when mom picked any of her flowers. She prized her flowers and never picked them for in the house. She said they belonged in the garden where the bees could enjoy them and where butterflies could add to their beauty.
Dad had his vegetable garden up the street. Mom had her flowers in the backyard and around the house where she could enjoy them while hanging the wash or keeping an eye on us kids playing our games of hide and seek. I developed an appreciation for the gardens my parents had. One put food on the table while the other developed my eye for beauty and appreciation it adds to the quality of life. Dad's work sometimes wasn't always appreciated though, broccoli was low on my list and cabbage was low on my sister's. Dad was so proud of his cabbages though. He made the best sauerkraut, so we were told as kids. All we knew though was that he made the best candy too.