JOHAN’S PEONIES

Grandpa Kristoffer Johan Pedersen

In an earlier post last March I wrote of Johan’s Journey, the story of my maternal grandfather who came to this country as a little boy from the island of Skarvik on the far north Salangen Fjord of Norway.  He was the mystery grandparent who had died of tuberculosis when my mother was only 18 months old.  He had been the husband of my grandmother Marie who is probably most responsible for influencing who I am today.

Almost a year ago, the summer we purchased this house on Mr. Faith and a year before we actually made the move, I went upon a mini quest to find his burial site.  It took some time given the many small country graveyards in the area.  In the small stop-in-the-road town of Comstock, Minnesota where my mother grew up, there had been two Lutheran Churches at the time – one for the Norwegians and one for the Swedes.  So of course they each had their own cemetery and hence the difficulty in locating Grandpa Johan’s gravesite as he didn’t appear to be buried with the Norwegians.  But in “walking amongst the Swedes”,  looking at Great Grandparents Jens and Kersten and all the extended relatives to Grandma Marie – the Bernhardsens, the Nelsons, the Andersons, the Jonsons – most from or descended from Varmland Sweden – there he suddenly was way back in the corner all by himself.  And his grave was covered by what I thought at the time to be a huge peony and wonder of wonders, it MUST have been planted by my own sweet Grandma Marie who was first and foremost a gardener of reckoning.  Who else?  And as it was late summer and the peony was far past bloom, I vowed to return this year to see the color, to celebrate and honor.

Norwegian way back in the corner with all the Swedes!

Relocated in Minnesota some three weeks now, I noticed the peonies beginning to burst forth about the neighborhood and Comstock being a good 45 minutes away and not a quick hop and jump, vowed to take the time and hoped the timing was just right.  And it was!

Fortunately no one was there to see the mad woman jumping up and down, shrieking and crying all in the same breath.  And there were TWO PEONIES.  One fully double dark pink and one single, just beginning, red with yellow stamens.  Huge and healthy and full of bloom.  One hundred years later!

And once again, I told my Grandfather Kristoffer Johan Pedersen what a lovely wife he had and what lovely children he created.

I took a bloom of each away for memory.  I’ll be back to weed and feed.

_________________________

ADDENDUM: PLANT QUIZ

Here is a picture of a shrub in our yard just beginning to bloom.

Rounded Shrub to the right of tree - approximately 6 feet high

Here is the flower.  It smells divine.  What is it?

Mystery flower ?

Notice my gift from Susan and Mary Lou – “How to be Idle” by Tom Hodgkinson.  Another Great Gifters of the Year Award.  They know me too well. Tom says – “it’s time to say yes to fun, freedom and pleasure.  In other words – Time is NOT Money!  You Betcha!

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This entry was posted in faith, Family, friendship, Gardening, Immigration, In Memorium. Bookmark the permalink.

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