Today I brought some calla lilies into Living Light for the administration staff. They are so dedicated to supporting our students in meeting their goals and making sure they are happy with the programs they choose and I wanted them to know how much I appreciate them. This gift of flowers is particularly meaningful to them, because the flowers are from my Dad’s Garden. He transformed our yard into a flower garden that blooms year round. He wanted to make sure that I always had fresh cut flowers for the students when they arrive at the school.
Dad loved to garden. He lived in the garden city of Santa Barbara all his life and we had an acre of fruits trees with several varieties of avocados, every type of citrus imaginable, varieties of figs, peaches and apricots—just to name a few. He had flowers, too, Birds of paradise and gardenias were my favorites, but fruit was really his thing. After he retired, he used to work in his garden everyday, picking fruit, washing it, and delivering it to a long list of organizations like orphanages, homes for the elderly, schools, juvenile hall and so forth. They loved seeing my Dad, the fruit man. He always had a smile on his face and they all gave him hugs – the only payment he would allow.
When Dad moved here to Fort Bragg in his later years to be near Dan and I, growing flowers for the school became his passion. He worked at least 4 hours every day, 6 days a week, either in our garden or at the Living Light Inn He enjoyed meeting the students who stay there from all over the world, and he delighted in seeing how they enjoyed the garden.
Dad passed away 16 months ago at the age of 91 but his garden will live on and he will certainly live on in the hearts and minds of people who knew and loved him, like our Living Light family. And every time I cut flowers for the school or for our staff I think of him. Thanks, Dad.