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Monday was my little brother’s birthday. I’m feeling a bit elderly today, because that little brother just turned 55. Fifty-Five! Five past 50! I would love to post a picture of him, either as he was the day Mom and Daddy brought him home from the hospital 55 years ago, or how he looks now, all handsome and grown up, but he has specifically asked me not to. So I must honor that.

However, I didn’t promise not to talk about him! So here is my story about his birthday.

Not long after we moved into our new house in Arroyo Grande, Mom planted a hybrid Amaryllis bulb in the corner of the front planter box, just north of her camellia plants. And every year since, that Amaryllis has bloomed in May just in time for his birthday, and has been part of his birthday pictures. The year Mom died he wasn’t in the mood to have the picture taken (let’s face it, he was turning 50 and his mother had just died), but I played the big sister card and guilted him into sitting down next to it, threatening to take the picture of him NOT sitting next to his flowers.

Last year he called me in late March and told me his flower was blooming, but it didn’t look quite right. I knew it couldn’t be, as it never bloomed until May and when I had been there earlier in the month it had no buds on it. But he insisted, so I just agreed to check it out my next trip. And what did I find when I got there? A daffodil had come from who knows where and snuggled down in next to the Amaryllis…and that was what was blooming. A bright yellow daffodil, next to where the cream striped with red Amaryllis would soon be blooming. I teased him mightily, and he reminded me that he knew nothing about plants.

On Monday when I arrived the amaryllis was blooming profusely, more than I have ever seen. There were at least eight blossoms fully open, and several more buds waiting their turn. It was a glorious sight, and a heartwarming birthday tradition.

Happy birthday, baby brother.