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Some Kids I Have Known
Sunflower and Children


Jessie, the sunflower, had so much personality.

"How so?" "You ask?" "Let me tell you how."

One bright sunny, early morning the children of the house looked out the front windows. Standing there in a very tall strong way was a sunflower stalk. The stem was thick and heavy. Maybe it was three inches across. Actually it stood taller than the children's father. This particular morning there was a new bright large flower at the top of the stalk. The flower was as big as a dinner plate. The very large center was maybe as big as a smaller salad plate. The petals on the flower were a pale clean yellow.

The wind pushed and pulled at the petals and they waved to the children. Although, Jessie, the flower, was facing toward the sun, it often turned toward the children also.

Marty now stood looking up at the new born flower. "You are so beautiful." The very young boy wanted to make friends and didn't know sunflowers were not people.

The flower was pleased. It let the little boy know how much it appreciated him by the ruffling of its petal and the swaying back and forth with a tiny breeze passing through. "Well, you know." "I'm just fresh and new like you."

Marty wanted to hug the flower but, of course, he couldn't. The stalk was rough and scratchy. Instead, he simply reached his arms up to it as if he was making an effort to have the sunflower reach down and pick him up.

In a few days the colors of the petals had changed. The wind and the sun had made them heavier, darker and stronger. They now were a bright orange yellow color. This day when Marty, the child, spoke to the flower a reply came.

"Hey Dude!" "What's up?" The sunflower was much more like a teenager in its response.

Marty giggled. "What'z up with you?" The child knew how to communicate with teenagers.

Time was moving on for the now tough old flower. Its petal were torn and frayed. Some were dripping down and some were still making an effort to hold some semblance of their original ways even if they were now curled very much. Marty now began to sense there was a change.

He smiled to the flower and said. "Are you feeling well?" "My old friend."

"Well, son, you know we can't stop the passing of time." "Soon the day will be coming when I will only be a frail old stalk standing here." "The thing is, we have had some good times haven't we?" "You have introduced me to your family." "I know your dog, your cat, brothers, sisters and all." "We've had great play times with your toys. I enjoyed watching you so very much."

Sure enough. Now the petals were all hanging about the dark center of the flower. They were limp and lifeless as they hung like fringes on the edges of the very large seed pod center.

"You look so dark." "I can see almost no color in your petals, old flower." "Do you still hear me?"

"Of course, Marty." The flower had become to be on a first name basis with the child. "Of course!" "In a few days come back to visit." "I will have a great surprise for you."

The boy stood staring up at the flower and where there once was a dark center was now a totally different look. There in neat swirling rows were white seeds.

While the boy stood beneath the stalk there was a popping out of the many white seeds. They scattered themselves about the ground in a most delightful way.

As the boy was busily picking the seeds up, the plant once again spoke to him. "Save these seeds, my boy." "Next year when the spring is yet cold and wet poke them into the soft ground." "So it will be, I can live forever for you." "A new plant will grow." "You may watch while it grows, and again you will have a new friend." "But, if you will leave my stalk here, another gift will come to please you." "A lovely redbird will rest on this seed pod while it picks the seeds out."

So it was with Marty. The wind slipped around the tall stalk and pod of the flower and as it swayed the old friend whispered encouragement to the boy. "Soon spring will be here." "Wait for my seeds to grow." "Soon you will have new friends."

Marty was consoled even though the old flower was dried and mostly still. The redbirds were there every day, and their bright red replaced the yellow of the sunflower.

Author's note:
These stories by the author are written with a subtle reference to the culture of the American Indian. This one touches into their philosophy: "there will always be someone or something there for you, even if it is only a flower."


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