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Cindy Maddera

I noticed that once we reached the balmier side of Texas on our way to visit my friend a few weeks ago, that all the hydrangeas were in bloom. Big blue popcorn balls of flowers. I know the magnolia is the true southern bell, but the hydrangea will always be the true flower of the south and the official signal of summer.

The hydrangea always congers up memories of summers spent visiting family in Mississippi. I can feel the pillowy hug from my Aunt Martha and hear her raspy cackle and the way she and my uncle says my mom's name, Patsy, as if it has four syllables. I can feel the thick muggy air on my arms as we trek around the yard, getting a tour of the newest plant additions Aunt Martha has planted.

I remember one summer when Aunt Martha gave mom a clipping of her hydrangea to take home. Mom planted it and babied it, but for the next two summers, it refused to bloom. The next summer rolled around and Mom went out and threatened the plant. She told it if it didn't bloom this summer, she was pulling it out and tossing it in the garbage. That summer, her hydrangea bloomed.

Happy Love Thursday!