By Ralphine Major


Their bright yellow petals popped up through the gift bag as if to greet us with a cheery “hello.”  This time of year, entire fields of the popular sunflower can draw thousands to admire their beauty.

Many years ago when our father passed away, we were amazed at all of the lovely floral arrangements and dish gardens from family and dear friends.  Two of them caught my eye because they were almost identical.  The two grapevine wreaths were adorned with huge yellow sunflowers.  They were from my work place in Knox County Government, Dwight Kessel and staff and Tom Schumpert and staff.  Focus readers may recall it was during that time that my fondness for sunflowers began.  I started collecting everything sunflower.  Mary Ruth McNatt remembered.

At church last Sunday, I received a surprise gift.  A yellow gingham bag tied with a yellow organdy bow offered a clue of what was inside.  Tiny sunflowers danced along the sheer strip of ribbon.  Hidden in the bag was a lovely vase of—sunflowers!  I wondered if Mary Ruth remembered the importance of Labor Day Weekend for our family.  The day before, August 31, marked 25 years since our father passed away.  When I asked her, she smiled and shook her head.  She had no idea the perfect timing of the sunflowers.  “It is a hug from heaven,” she said.

The “hug from heaven” now has a special place in our home.  It is a reminder of the joys and blessings friendship brings.