Forty two years of tradition beckoned my family last Saturday when we traveled to the annual Daffodil festival hosted by the Long Tom Grange near Monroe, Oregon. Though ice had covered most of the landscape only three weeks before, I was surprised to see grouping after grouping of daffodils sporting their yellow trumpet blossoms along every ditch, around every fencepost, and clustered in every drive as we neared the location.
More than four thousand spectators were expected for the event, which in the past featured horse-drawn wagons that carried guests down a long drive along daffodil-infested Ferguson Road. This year, flower lovers were driven by school bus down the daffodil strewn path for a scenic view of more yellow and white flowers than one usually sees in a formal garden.
A hamburger and hot dog barbecue occupied one part of the landscape, hosted by the high school swim team. Inside the main Grange building, visitors could sit and be served cinnamon rolls, coffee, and hot chocolate by the local 4-H group.
While they ate, customers could feast their eyes on the handmade daffodil quilts lining the walls. Two quilts had been made by a woman now in her nineties, who had learned how to hand stitch the elegant blankets when a child of eight. She donated these works of art for a raffle at two dollars a ticket. Some lucky winner would go home swathed in a flowered pattern of yellow and red created by a seasoned seamstress.
The high school baseball team served as traffic controllers, ushering vehicles in and out of the parking area. Visitors were seen leaving with foil-wrapped pastries and pots of flowers ready to bloom, stopping in front of the teepee to have their picture taken.
The festival will return next year as sure as flowers promise to bloom.
Matthew 6:28b-29: “Consider the lilies of the field, they toil not, neither do they spin: yet Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”