A Mother's Bouquet
by Kimberly (KBJ)




Disclaimer: The characters and situations of the TV program "Big Valley" are the creations of Four Star/Republic Pictures and have been used without permission.  No copyright infringement is intended by the author.  The ideas expressed in this story are copyrighted to the author.





Brilliantly colored wild flowers placed in a glass jar were displayed on her window ledge. There were golden poppies, purple owl's clover, wooly-star and yellow violets. She looked over at them and smiled, calling up the moment when he had given them to her.

At the time, she had thought he had forgotten or he had felt it wasn't his place, having already received gifts from the others. There was Nick's lovely portrait of her and her sister recreated from an old tintype, along with Jarrod's indulgence of three dozen roses in varying hues, her favorite, a rare salmon color, and a promise of a weekend with him in San Francisco, and Audra's gift to her of a finely crafted locket containing a small photograph of the family. 

Through the entire gift-giving, he had sat quietly as though he were only a guest, an unobtrusive observer rather than a family member. She had caught a glimpse of something in his eyes, a longing welling up in them and what she recognized as profound sadness. But then it had quickly vanished and he had smiled and laughed convincingly at all the appropriate moments. His aperitif had been tentatively sipped, and every so often he had appeared to be lost in thought, almost brooding.

It wasn't until very late in the evening that he had come to her room. He had stopped just at the doorway, his hands tucked behind his back hiding something. She had felt such love for him as he stood there, his manner bringing to mind a very young, very vulnerable boy. He had grown flush from her staring and his clear, blue eyes, the heartbreaking blue of his father's, had fixed upon her and he slowly had taken from behind his back a beautiful cluster of wild flowers arranged painstakingly in a clean, but well-worn glass jar.

Her face had shown her surprise and instantly she had seen that he had read it as disappointment. He had stammered a little and had thrust the flowers toward her, mumbling "Happy Mother's Day." When she had reached for it, she had grasped his hand, holding on to him, until he had no choice, but to raise his head and look at her. She had smiled and he had gradually smiled in return and then had quietly pointed out each flower giving their names and where he had found them.

She remembered his words when he had finished, saying that it was not much of a gift by comparison. And at that she had impulsively hugged him and he hadn't seemed to mind, returning her hug just as strongly. Her heart had soared, but then had dropped when he said that he would be gone a day or two.  She hadn't questioned him about it that evening nor the next morning and now she stood at her window with her glass jar of wild flowers, watching him prepare to ride away.

Tears came to her eyes, but then suddenly she smiled brightly when she saw what he held in his hands -- a very familiar glass jar of wild flowers. All at once she understood that to him it was not just a gift of flowers, but a Mother's bouquet.