What's in a name?

My Nona's name is Maze. Well, to be truthful her name is actually Margie, although I rarely hear anyone call her that. In fact, she doesn't even call herself Margie. She was named after a popular 1920s song entitled, "My Little Margie." Nona sang it to me once after I had asked her if Margie was short for Margaret. Just the question made her burst into song. "Oh Margie, Margie, its you!" This is common for Nona. She's a pianist and, well, she likes to carry a tune. 

I spent a summer with Nona after graduating from college. Unsure what to do following commencement, I packed up my apartment, quit my college bartending job, and drove myself to Nona's house in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Those days may have been tainted with uncertainty, but I cherish the summer I spent with her. 

Nona encouraged me to plant flowers in her courtyard, laughed at me when I grumbled about her dogs, and ate all the meals I cooked for her with a smile. We enjoyed meals together and were known to spend afternoons at restaurants munching on cheese platers and sipping wine. We're quite dangerous at restaurants given our shared love of red wine and fresh lobster tails (notably, the 15 ounce lobster tail she spontaneously ordered for me that summer). Nona would tell me stories over dinner, and sometimes jokes. One of her favorites is asking someone what the German word for brassiere is. As they shrug she'll say, "stopendafloppen!" 

In addition to the food, one of my greatest memories was the day we spent at a lavender festival. I know, the idea sounds strange. It did to me too. It's not that I didn't believe people grew lavender. I suppose I simply hadn't considered the possibility that there were entire farms and festivals devoted to lavender. Nonetheless, when I saw an advertisement for the event, I had to check it out and knew Nona would gladly come along.  

On the day of the festival, Nona and I drove the 20 or so miles outside of Tulsa to a lavender farm teeming with vendors, wine, and lavender goods. As we made our way through the festival, we tasted wine (okay, a lot of wine!), ate lunch and roamed around people watching and window shopping. The lengthy rows of lavender were, well, they were bushy, no, more like fluffy, and they were covered with bees. I understand that this may unnerve some people, but I wasn't at all put off by the bees humming around the lavender fields. In fact, I like bees. I like them perhaps because I enjoyed helping my mother with her flowers as a kid. Not to mention that it may be easier to like bees if, like me, you have never been stung by one. Besides, how could anyone be afraid of a bumblebee? The chubby bees that buzz around like an old car with a problematic muffler, they make me smile. 

I may have evaded a sting that day, but I left the farm with one hell of a sunburn. Peeling skin can't hold this girl down, especially when Nona made sure I brought home a few lavender plants, a lavender cookbook, and a jar of lavender honey made by the bees at the farm. 

So, what's in a name? A story.

Oh, and I should probably tell you that my name is Erin. 

Happy Birthday Nona!

Today is Nona's birthday! This year I made her some cute little coasters... 



Note: The coaster pattern is a free pattern from The lavender festival is hosted annually at the Lavender Hill Farm and Winery.

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