I have been thinking about Bud today. “Bud” McQuade was a retired school teacher, former head of the Joel Barlow High School Science department living in Redding, CT who left a legacy in his yard, three acres of daffodils.
I would visit him every year around Easter with some homemade brownies. Often, I would take my children or some friends to see his garden which delighted everyone.
He told me he would unearth the clumps in the Fall, split them and re-plant the bulbs. He planted thousands each year, and as they multiplied underground, he would repeat the process annually.
His efforts left acres of delight for those of us to pass every Spring. He welcomed people to stop and take photographs or walk amidst the flowers.
I’m thinking even more about him these days. The photo above I took in April of 2017, when I took my gal pals, Arlene and Luella to his house for an outing. Once I introduced them, I quizzed them all on how to live long. Arlene was the baby, in her 90’s. Luella was only 100, and Bud beat them both at 101.
Arlene attributed her advanced age to being stubborn. Luella said it was linked to eating oatmeal every morning as a child. Bud suggested you just keep breathing.
Bud served in the military during WWII and Arlene and Luella moved from farms in New England to construct aircraft at Sikorsky. They endured some difficult times in their lives. They still make me laugh and love to eat pie.
These fine folks are utmost on my mind these days. Bud died in August of 2019 at the age of 103, but Luella and Arlene are still neighbors, keeping in touch by phone and going to church when they aren’t avoiding the pandemic.
I wear a mask to work for them, and people like them. They show me how to grow old with humor and I want to honor them.
These times call for all of us to dig deep, unearth what is worthwhile and plant it out in the world for others, especially strangers. For most of us, that is not a daffodil bulb, but perhaps a smile, an act of kindness, the simple act gratitude for what is important and enduring, Nature, friendships, the elderly.
This too shall pass, Arlene would say.
Spring still comes. Thank you, Bud.