Monday, June 9, 2014

Gift for a neighbor

At the end of last October, I posted this picture of a plant growing in my neighbor's garden.

Having a daughter with as much curiosity and more computer skills than I, it was soon identified as Euphorbia marginata ...  Common  English name of "Snow-on-the-mountain".

A week or so ago, as I was passing this garden on my way to the train station, the neighbor looked up from where she was working in her garden and called to me saying they had made me a pot of this plant and I would find it sitting outside their gate upon my return.

Sure enough, now it is sitting outside my gate and I am looking forward to watching the progress from green leaves in the spring to this autumn beauty.

I only know this couple in passing but wanted to make something as a thank you gift. Only problem, what might be useful? I don't even know if they have western style furniture. Well, probably they have a geta bako in their genkan. ( a place in their entryway for storing shoes). I checked the size of ours and made this little quilted runner, hoping it will do.

The pattern is "birds in the air" and makes me think of flying over their gate as I pass each day and enjoying all the flowers on display. Most of those are in pots and set out along their path to be enjoyed. (At present, a hibiscus with huge yellow flowers).

The size is about 12.5 x 21.5 inches. Hopefully a useful size.

Yesterday's English class included a quote from a newspaper article, "One small flower in a room changes the atmosphere. It sits there looking pretty and peaceful and creates beauty for people. Imagine the difference a person can make."

It brought to mind something that happened much earlier in the day. My husband Paul, dog Nikko, and I go out at 4:am each Monday to deliver rice balls to the homeless in Shibuya. The onigiri are made each day by our church as part of our "Mission to Our Homeless Neighbors". I seldom help with the production but I have been delivering the packs to the station area for about 21 years. A number of times I have had one of the homeless press a one-yen coin in my hand but yesterday was a "first" to me. We had a few extra packs left after the delivery and rather than take them home, passed them to one of the homeless men still lingering in the area. Imagine the surprise when that man came after us, and offered this rose. wrapped up and tied with a red ribbon.

Each time I see it sitting quietly there in my great-aunt's crystal vase I have to smile.
The quote was right.

A gift of a plant ... a gift of a rose ... the gift of friendship

imagine the difference a person can make!


  1. Your runner is a lovely gift for your neighbour.
    And I think the rose is also a very special gift!

  2. Super gift, "birds in the air" so apt, and a rose, to you something so special, the man must be very, very thankful, I cannot imagine how it would be to have no home,Cheers,Jean

  3. Your runner is perfect, I'm sure it will be loved. The quote, and then the rose….it brought a tingle to my skin, how poignant and appropriate, mysterious ways for sure.

  4. lovely flower and wonderful gifts .. both ways between neihours xx how wonderful that he thanked you with possibly the only thing he had of beauty to give xx a treasure indeed x

  5. What a thoughtful post. The kind interactions of neighbors are gifts themselves. And now you've enlarged the neighborhood circle again.

  6. lovely gift to your neighbor and such a lovely plant as well. I wonder where the homeless man got the rose to give to you - such a very nice gesture.

  7. One good turn deserves another and you have been on the giving and receiving of yours. Great job

  8. Sharing! What wonderful benefits come from sharing, whether it's a plant and table runner, or a rice ball and lovely flower. Isn't it great that both parties gain so much, even when they give.

  9. The quilt is perfect and it really does remind me of the plant.
    That is such a wonderful thing and I think the greatest gift for us is the joy of making a difference and bringing a little joy into someones life.


  10. How sweet Julie! Connecting with your neighbours, connecting with the homeless man. Isn't that really what is important in life - making connections with others? I also look forward to seeing the plant through its stages...

  11. What an uplifting post. I'd love to hear more about the rice balls - and I'm so impressed that you are going out at such an early time, for so many years. The world is a better place because of people like you.

    It is a sad and tearful day here. There has been another school shooting - in Portland Oregon this time - the third shooting in the US in a week, not counting the "routine" ones we never hear of. It is shameful and sickening to see the proliferation of guns in our country. Many are speaking up - so far, no one is listening. We must keep at our task!!!!

    The rose is a beautiful symbol of what a difference one person can make.

  12. I imagine he quilt for the getabako is just perfect and am sure will be much appreciated. You will look at the plant and your neighbours will look at the quilt and you will smile every day.
    The red rose might wilt away, but the memory of that Monday morning and the exchange of gifts never will.

  13. I love the runner! It's so pretty. And what a sweet man to give you that flower. :)

  14. I know your neighbor will love the little quilt as much as you love the Snow on the Mountain - what a beautiful plant. The generosity of others, especially when they have little to give, warms our hearts. blessings, marlene

  15. Oh, I love that plant! I can see why you were interested in it. What a wonderful and caring neighbor! That was so sweet of her to give you a plant and I'm sure your lovely quilt will be well received. Do you still have that mean neighbor? The one that doesn't like sharing the fence?
    And the story of the rose is just so heartwarming. Thank you for sharing.