Growing up in Texas, you take bluebonnets for granted. They were a yearly subliminal reminder that summer vacation was just around the corner. As a kid who never made it past the Tejas border (where else would you go? oklahoma?) I assumed they were everywhere, and they would always be there. The sight of an endless sea of blue on a small farm to market road is a wonder lost on the young. Why didn’t I stop more to admire them?
I thought I would miss out on them this year, the unfortunate collateral damage of a move back to Arizona. But then in an unplanned trip, I found myself on I-35 today, driving through Lady Bird’s labor of love.
I didn’t have time to stop. I was on a mission to get to a hospital down the road in time for my brother’s surgery. There’s a small window between his release to ICU and the time he switches from backless gown to jammy bottoms and I need that tushy photo, dammit. I raced along at 80 mph, glancing at the little State Flowers with the promise I’ll find time for a run along a country road before I leave. My soul needs it.
I grew up with these two guys. We were inseparable partners in crime. A shy bunch, we were all we had. The Pinky Outpost, Croquet Destruction Derby, Monopoly to the death. They were my best friends.
And now here I am, at a hospital where both of them are confronting their mortality in the same week. I sit in an icy waiting room and dream of that annual Smith Boy bluebonnet outing, of runs across Texas with the faithful jeep in tow and a brother badgering you for a column, of one more clod fight on the farm. I assumed they’d always be there. The joys of youth are lost on the young. Why didn’t I stop to admire them more?
Bluebonnets are precious. Never, ever take them for granted …