This issue of the Original Boomerang is the very essence of spring, full of bustle and a keen sense of the season’s brevity mixed in with a sprinkling of poignant notes to match … to start off with, there’s an announcement about a short story contest being put on by the Des Moines Register, which is open to all Des Moines residents “though they may be attending school or teaching as far away as India or even Philadelphia” (note the way the Boomerang man makes Philadelphia sound as if it’s further away from Des Moines than India!).
Next up is a wonderful story about the first ride of the season in Patty to Indianola–and back the same day!–and meeting relations coming and going!
Then there’s a poem that I bet is by poet Fred Eno, quoted in full below:
There’s a little bunch of lilies
Down by the country road
Whose fragrance sends me back again
To childhood’s sweet abode.
How fleeting are their blossoms–
They bloom but for a day,
Then like some dreams of childhood
Too quickly fade away.
That was poignant, but the full-blown poignancy is still to come … in a story about how on their way back from Indianola, they passed a house with an abundance of lilacs in bloom and asked to buy a quarter’s worth of them, but when the people in the house found out who they were, they refused to sell them any . . . why? It turned out that the “man of the house” was an “old flame” of Mama’s! As Fred puts it, “the lady intimated that mama might have had the whole lilac bush–roots and all” … as they drove away, Fred recounts, “a look of fond regret filled your mother’s eyes and ‘the saddest words of tongue and pen’–stung again.” Here the Boomerang man is quoting a poem called “Maud Miller” by John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892): “Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, ‘It might have been'” (read full poem here). Ohhh: Mama definitely made the right decision–what a sensitive guy!