Stop, and smell the lilacs.

It’s late April. The birds are singing, the grass is green, the weather is beautiful. And I’m down in the dumps. Yesterday I took my bad mood outside to sit in the yard and listen to the birds. I realized it was a glorious day and I shouldn’t miss out on it, in spite of my low spirits. At least the birds were in chipper mood. I settled back and closed my eyes. The breeze shifted and the smell of lilacs swept over me. The smell of spring and the feel of the warm sun quickly began to improve my mood. I started to smile as I drifted off and somehow made my way back to April two years ago.

I was visiting my parents. The weather was absolutely beautiful, the trees were in full bloom, and the colors were glorious. With the change of season, and at my mother’s request, I pulled out her summer outfits and put away her winter ones. She inventoried her wardrobe, looked at me and said, “I need new clothes.” Then she spoke those magic words, “You have to go shopping for me.”  And a choir of angels began to sing. What girl just doesn’t love to go shopping? And not only did I GET to go shopping, I HAD to go shopping!

There are some of us who love to shop. Then there are those of us who regard it as a sacred art, and have developed a level of skill and proficiency that make the average shopper look like bumbling amateurs. I consider myself in the latter category. My mother warned me that I would have a difficult time finding clothes that met her specific criteria. More music to my ears. I love a challenge. I meticulously planned my strategy as I drove the familiar road to the mall and headed straight to Macy’s.

Two short hours later, I staggered to the check out with piles of clothes in my arms. All the sales clerk could see were my eyes, the top of my head and the tips of my fingers. Triumphantly, I plopped the merchandise on the counter, and told her, “These aren’t for me. They’re for my mother, and I’ll be back tomorrow to return what she doesn’t want.” I took the huge bags home and had a great time playing show and tell with my mom. We organized the clothes into three piles as she tried them on. You know, the “yes” pile, the “no” pile, and the “maybe” pile. We took a break to admire our work, and then we put our heads together to plan my strategy for the following day.

After another successful day at Macy’s,  I brought the fruits of my labors home. More organizing, trying on, mixing, matching, and the piles of “yes”, “no”, and “maybe” grew larger. We were on a roll. Ahhhh, shopping! By this time my father was so impressed with my level of skill that he got in on the action and placed an order for himself. This was getting better and better. Just listen to those angels sing!

I went back to the mall the next day, and the next day, and the next. By the fourth day all of the sales clerks knew my name and I knew theirs. I called them by name and waved to them as I worked my way through the store. I was surprised they didn’t put me on the payroll. Some of the sales staff thought I actually was on the payroll. My Macy’s card never saw so much action and it sizzled from the activity.

By the time I left to go back to Denver, my mother had a well-organized new wardrobe. My father had new shorts and shirts. I had a whole group of new friends at Macy’s. I did my part to boost the local economy, a practice that my sisters and I would continue over the next several months, but that’s another story.

I came out of my reverie. I wasn’t in my childhood home, I was in my own yard. I wasn’t at the mall, I was in my lawn chair. But for some reason, I was in a much better mood. Sometimes, all you need to do, is stop, and smell the lilacs.