As for mortals, their days are like grass;
they flourish like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting.
– Psalm 1-3:15-17
Like many of you, our family lost one we deeply loved a few weeks ago. Thomas (Tommy) Bricker Daughtry was 74 years old, still in the prime of his life, when he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He went through the standard treatments – chemo, radiation, shifts in his diet – and it seemed to be working. We had every reason to hope. But in the midst of the pandemic, he went into the hospital for what turned out to be pneumonia. Within a couple of days, they intubated him…and as we all now know, it’s rare to come off the respirator. He had a series of strokes and passed away on January 15.
We were – are – stunned. His wife Linda said it best when she said, “Tommy, I will miss you every day for the rest of my life.”
Tommy loved nature. He and Linda retired to the beautiful North Georgia mountains in a home on “Big Creek” where he created a wonderland of gardens, sculptures, bonsai, koi ponds, rock paths, garden sheds, and cedar trees. There are very few places on earth that I love more than their home.
In addition to being an artist, professor, gardener, and all-around Renaissance Man, Tommy also wrote charming little missives that he would post online. As I think about spring, looking out at my window at the budding trees and bulbs poking through the ground, I am thinking of Tommy, celebrating his life even as I wish he was still here with us.
Today, I invite us to enjoy Tommy’s piece he wrote in 2015 and titled “Foolish Daffodils.”
“It is 31 degrees here this morning at Big Creek. I walked out into the driveway desperately looking for some infinitesimal sigh of the approaching spring of 2015. It is after all the eighth of March.
Of course, there are a few daffodils pushing their green pointy leafy fingers up into the frosty, air but everyone knows that daffodils don’t have any sense. They hoist their brilliant yellow tousled heads up into the air without regard for the temperature or timing, trumpeting the approaching spring. They are like overeager children with their enthusiasm overwhelming common sense. You just can’t count on the narcissus family for any accurate weather predictions. In the last week or two, I have noticed the crowds of brilliant blonde flowers standing by the Gilmer County roadsides beckoning with false promises. You cannot trust a daffodil!
Many years ago when we lived in Jonesboro a thick patch of King Alfred daffodils stood in the backyard where they bloomed in profusion every spring. One March night during this particular spring we had a surprising dip in the temperatures. It registered in the low teens and froze the yellow blooms into stiff immovable statues. The next morning the wind picked up and blew so hard it broke the frozen stems and blooms off at ground level and sent and them tumbling end over end down the small hill towards the lake. As they tumbled, the now fragile, brittle flowers broke into hundreds of pieces of bright yellow confetti littering the dry dormant grass in the back yard.
Knowing the shortcomings of daffodils and their unreliability I have to admit this modest plant I like better than most others. Their resurrection every spring gives me assurance and faith in the invisible things that reliably perform with no facilitating from me or anyone else. That enduring speck of unseen life wrapped, housed, and surrounded by layers and layers of the brown sleeping bulb is determined to continue performing as it always has. How I love those daffodils.”
I will always see Tommy in the daffodils.
Today, take a moment to look at the wonderful gifts that this world offers you, and then hug those you love a bit closer. Life is sacred and precious, over all too soon.
We are in this together,