The Late Bloomers

Paul Richardson
Neosho Daily News

The last couple of weeks has included an awakening of the Surprise Lilies. These tall slender stems with the delicate pink blooms are also refered to as “Naked Ladies”. Just a thought, but isn’t, “Surprise”, what naked ladies say anyway?

Here in the midwest during the “Dog Days” of August, when the drought has set in and the grass has usually turned to a nice toasty brown, we don’t see a lot of things in bloom. The greenbean bushes may put on a few little white blooms, but those are just teasers as the bean won’t set on due to the heat. Just have to wait for cooler weather for the beans to start producing again. 

But in the midst of this heat, misery and the tedious final days before school begins, when families are trying to pack in that one last little trip, these tall slender stems with the delicate pink blooms emerge. I had never really noticed these until the late 1980’s when the kids were pre-teens and one day while we were driving along I heard one say, “Hey, there’s a naked lady”.  Well, I’m gonna tell you that I had something else in mind and was expecting to hear a loud “Surprise”, but after a quick visual search I gave up. The next time I heard one of the kids say, “Hey, there’s a naked lady”, I was a little quicker but still failed to locate what my mind was anticipating. Having decided that while I may have just missed the point of the exclamation on the first round, I was certain that there must be some type of misunderstanding due to the outcome of round two. So I sucked up my pride and ask the wife, “Why do the kid’s keep shouting, hey, there’s a naked lady”? It was at this point I was made aware of this horticultural beauty.  

So for the next several years I continued to refer to these flowers as “Naked Ladies”. At some point my wife decided that I just liked to say “Naked Ladies” and it was then that she informed me that their common name was Surprise Lily, magic lily or resurrection lily. Surprise lily was the common name because Lycoris squamigera was just to difficult for a southwest Missouri hillbilly to say.

That entire discourse was designed as a way for her to politely request for me to stop screaming out “There’s a Naked Lady”. It turns out that there are several things about my behavior that she has been trying to modify over the years. I am uncertain as to her intent, but I am sure that she is attempting to improve my quality of life.  Right? I can usually identify these areas based upon the apologies that she offers to everyone when we are in public. Fortunately, I don’t let things like that bother me.

Thought for the day; Enjoy the late bloomers, they make the “Dog Days” of summer a little more colorful.  Naked Ladies are great, whether the flowering type or the the ones that yell “Surprise”!

-Paul Richardson is the proprietor of In Sane Marketing Solutions and writes a weekly column, The Horse I Rode In On, for The Neosho Daily News and The Aurora Advertiser.