Monday, September 10, 2018

Maggie's Sunflower Truck

                  Maggie’s Sunflower Truck
                        By Valerie L. Egar

        Maggie grew sunflowers on Sunnyvale Farm.
In the spring, she plowed and fertilized the fields behind her house and planted seeds. She made a scarecrow to keep the crows away, because she knew how much crows loved sunflower seeds. She waited for a good spring rain.
When the seeds sprouted, Maggie watched over them. She weeded between the rows, singing as she weeded.
            Sunflowers grow high as the sky!
            Bloom bold, bloom bright, don’t be shy.
Maggie was certain the plants knew they were loved and grew taller because of it.
The flowers began blooming in July. Pale yellow ones with bright green centers and bright orange ones with chocolate brown centers. Some had russet petals trimmed with gold and others, lemon colored petals. Maggie cut the flowers that were beginning to bloom, bundled them into bouquets and wrapped a rubber band around each. She filled the back of her blue pick-up truck with buckets of water and placed the bouquets in the buckets. Soon, the truck looked like a float in a parade, bright gold, orange and russet flowers crowding the truck bed.
           Maggie drove to town, her truck brimming with flowers. “Well, look at you!” Mr. Barker the barber exclaimed.
            “Would you like to buy a bouquet?” Maggie asked.
            “Sure would,” he replied. “One for my wife, another for my aunt and—” He looked around his shop. “One to pretty up the front window.”
            Maggie stopped at the McAllister’s house next. “Oooh! They’re beautiful.  Perfect for the front porch.” Mrs. McAllister bought two bouquets.
            Dr. Lillio bought one for her office waiting room. Miss Mathis asked if she might buy half a bouquet, since she was on a fixed income. “Oh, I have half-priced bouquets on the other side,” Maggie said and she went out to the truck and got the prettiest bouquet she could find.
            “That bouquet is bigger than the last,” said Miss Matthis.
            “Uh huh,” smiled Maggie. “Most folks want them smaller. That’s why it’s half price.”
            Everywhere Maggie went, people bought sunflowers. When she got to the Bouchard house, she had three bouquets left. “Ah, sunflowers!”  Mrs. Bouchard smiled. “My favorite. So cheerful! I’ll take all three.”
Every week for the rest of the summer, Maggie harvested the flowers and drove through the village selling them. Her truck was always a welcome sight. As fall approached, the harvest began to thin— sunflower season was almost over.
        Maggie made her way through the village and by the time she came to the Bouchard house, all the sunflowers were gone. She drove by, expecting to see Mrs. Bouchard and prepared to apologize for running out of flowers. Instead, her daughter Renee stood by the driveway. “I have a new sister! I’m going to fill the house with sunflowers before Mom comes home from the hospital!”
            “I don’t have any more.”
            Renee looked like she might cry. “They’re Mom’s favorite.”
            “I know.”
            Maggie had picked all of the last blooms that morning and knew the field would yield no more. When she stopped at Shop 'n Go for gas, she mentioned the Bouchard’s new baby and Mrs. Bouchard’s love of sunflowers. “But I’m all out.” Maggie sighed.
            People in the store overheard. “Heck, she can have some of mine,” Mrs. McAllister said.  “I don’t need three bouquets.”
            “I’ll write a post for the town’s Facebook page,” said the store clerk. “There’s bound to be more people who will pitch in."
            “Tell ‘em I’ll stop by to pick them up,” said the town’s fire chief.  “Maggie’s done enough work for one day.”
Maggie smiled. “I’ll come with you, Chief.  Renee’s going to need help arranging them. She wants everything to look nice when her Mother comes home.”
           In front of every shop, at the end of every driveway, people stood holding sunflowers for Mrs. Bouchard. Some were the ones they’d bought that morning from Maggie. Some were ones they clipped from their own gardens. Those who didn’t have sunflowers offered roses, marigolds, zinnias.
            “There’s thousands!” Renee exclaimed when she saw them.

            Maggie laughed. “Not quite,” she said, “But I think your mother is going to be very surprised.”

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Copyright 2018 by Valerie L. Egar. May not be copied, reproduced or distributed without permission from the author.
Published September 9, 2018 Biddeford Journal Tribune (Biddeford, ME).

Snickertales are written by Valerie L. Egar. Follow her on FACEBOOK. (Don't forget the 'L' or you won't find her!     

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