And then there was Gramps, my grandmas pa, my great grandfather.  He was a very tall and broad man, white hair, glasses and I remember him wearing a Ron Burgundy burgundy colored suit.  I was just a short, chipmunk cheeked, smiley platinum blond haired girl when he was still around.  I dont remember much of him but 2 things - he ate bacon everyday and soaked up the bacon grease with bread and ate that too - (now i know that my love of pork has come from many family tree branches back)
They other thing was his love of hollyhocks.  There is a picture at my grandparents house still today of him standing tall and proud next to his barn that is surrounded by dozens of towering hollyhocks that are even taller then him.  Pink, burgundy, light as white pink, and the occasional yellow. 
I remember everytime we were over to visit in the late summer, the smell of rotted apples and the hum of busy bees, he would call all of us kids over and he would pull off a full bloomed flower and a bud with just peaking out color.  he would turn around and hide what he was doing with them and then He had a shallow dish with water and he would set this perfect flowered tiny dancer in the dish and it would dance around and he would tell a story how she was the most beautiful girl at the party and how all the boys fancied her. How she wore the long flowing dress and a big beautiful scarf in her hair......he would go on and on and all of us kids would be enamored, imaging this big palace with men in tuxedos and chandeliers and beautiful woman and everyone dancing.  Then he would say that  at the end of the night she was walkin down the steps to leave, she tripped and fell and WOOP - you could see under her dress and he would turn the flowered princess over.... Now as a child - I assumed he meant her undies (as I snickered and giggled and ran off like it was a naughty word) but in fact, if you look at a hollyhock as you can see in my last picture from above, you will notice he meant something different.  (that damn dirty old man)    I obviously finally got why my parents and other adults would laugh at Gramps story when I got into my early teens.  Through out the years, everytime I see a hollyhock I grab 2 and tell the story to the poor person that happens to be with me at the time.  I still think its funny and I remember him, and this story, right now because hollyhocks are in bloom and I told this story today and made a princess and floated her on the water and laughed my tail off when I flipped her over.  Thanks God my account found it funny (thanks)
BY the way - you get a bud that just pops out, peel off all of the green on it and there is tiny holes on the white part.  On the already bloomed one, you have to cut off leaving a tiny bit of stem.  You shove the stem into one of the holes on the bud and it becomes her head.  It also looks like she now has eyes and shes wearing a beautiful scarf wrapped around her head.  the bloom is her dress.  it floats on the water.  If you try it let me know what you think! I did this one last year, or maybe year before when I was in Napa.  One of the vineyards had them planted on the end of the row.......


 


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