Daddy and Mom had saved up enough money to begin building a new house to replace the drafty old trailer we were living in.
Once there was a roof, outside wall closed in, and windows installed we moved in. The rest would be worked on as they could afford it.
Aunts Emma and Vernie came over to help us get moved in. They helped Mom staple cardboard to the walls to give the master bedroom and bathroom some privacy, and then Emma brought out a gallon of pink paint and proceeded to paint the floor of my bedroom. I was thrilled. Pink! It didn't matter that the walls of my room consisted of bare 2 x 4s with spaces between each one wide enough to run through. I had a pink floor which made my room the prettiest thing ever.
That evening Grandpa and Grandma came over to see everything and give the aunts a ride home. Grandma brought a vase filled with lily of the valley flowers from her flower bed.
She divided the bouquet into two. Half of them returned to the original vase and the other half she put into a small glass and put some blue food coloring into the water. She handed them to me to set on my dresser. "See how nice and white these flowers are?" she asked me.
I admired the creamy white little bell like flowers.
"They're like little good little girls who choose their friends," she said. "The first vase with the plain water is like a little girl who chose her friends well, she will stay the same, sweet and nice.
The other vase with the blue water is like a little girl who does not choose her friends well. At first you may think it really doesn't matter, but with some time the water will turn the flowers blue. They're the same flowers, but they've been changed."
I tried to soak in what she was saying, but the vision of little girls turning blue if they don't have good friends kept floating through my mind.
The next day the flowers were a lovely blue. I knew that it wasn't necessarily supposed to be a good thing, but secretly I thought they were prettier.
It took a little while, but the life lesson she was trying to teach made sense, and it has stayed with me all these years.