Happy birthday, Mom.
Oh – this brings a tear to my eyes. My grandfather also had a May birthday so every year we’d drive across the bridge over the Mississippi to Alton to spend our birthdays in the “big house” there. He had the same cake: an angel food cake with a little vial in the hole in the middle, filled with lily-of-the-valley that had been picked from patches at the edge of the forest that bordered his land. I was fearful of going too close to the “dark woods” there – who knew what monster lived in it? – but I dearly loved the beautiful cake and the flowers springing out of it.
When I was a little kid there were lillies of the valley in the backyard flower garden. Their fragrance is a Proust madeleine to me. I probably can’t identify a single other flower fragrance, but sniff a bar of soap with that fragrance and I’m right there.
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