Lee Smith & Daffodils


Fred Lollis chimney, daffodils by Don Casada

“On we went, her red coat flitting in and out of the trees ahead of me. Sometimes she seemed not even to touch the ground. We came into the clear and struck out along a fencerow surprising the little birds that flew up all around us. We passed that pile of rocks which used to be the chimney of an old homestead, we know because daffodils pop up there every spring. Fannie said, ‘Daffodils remember when the people are all gone.'”

~Lee Smith, On Agate Hill


*Sources: Smith, Lee. On Agate Hill: a novel. Chapel Hill, N.C.: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2006. Print; Photo by Don Casada.

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  • Reply
    April 13, 2015 at 11:21 am

    LOVE this quote, I have written about this very thing,often on my blog and hadn’t heard it before, thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    March 16, 2014 at 12:12 am


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    Julie Hughes
    March 12, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    When I see flowers blooming with only steps or a drive way left, it makes me feel bitter sweet. Some one lived there; I can imagine a lady proud of her flowers,tending them for years. Now, no one is left to see them bloom but passers by.

  • Reply
    March 12, 2014 at 9:13 am

    Ah! The hints of spring approaching! Isn’t it amazing how constant some parts of Mother Nature are? They know when it is time to let humans know when the season is about to change, but beware, the previous season may still want to stick around a little longer. I just love the Daffodils and other bulbs alerting us of the coming of Spring.

  • Reply
    March 11, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    “‘Daffodils remember when the people are all gone.'”
    Indeed, they do.
    What a beautiful thought!!!
    God bless.

  • Reply
    March 11, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    Lee Smith–one of my favorites. Thanks for reminding me of one of my favorites by her. No daffodils here yet, but maybe soon.

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    March 11, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    Oh, I recognized that quote immediately! Such a vivid picture, and so well framed. I do miss the daffodils and jonquils, as we don’t have them here in Florida.

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    Ken Roper
    March 11, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    I’m not much of a reader, but my oldest daughter lives in Chapel Hill. One time I shoveled up a bunch of Easter Lillies from my garden (before it was plowed)
    and gave them to her. They’re still
    blooming, year after year.
    Many years ago, I had 12 boxwoods, planted them from little things, but they grew and almost destroyed my sidewalks before I got rid of ’em.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    March 11, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    I’ve got a picture of the picture-taker taking that picture 😉 – and it brings back fond memories of a fun day.
    Just over this past weekend I’d given some thought to going back down there to check on their status. I’d bet they’re blooming now. Your (and my) photo, were taken at the HK Cable place in mid-February of 2012. This year, the blades might not have even been showing at that date.

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    Suzi Phillips
    March 11, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    I love Lee Smith. There are very few writers out there that make the reader see every word they write-

  • Reply
    March 11, 2014 at 11:57 am

    When I began reading the passage I thought of a Irish Setter running along the path . . . . We had a foundling Springer Spaniel who ran like that – it was beautiful to watch her run.
    I too wonder about those who planted the old roses, daylillies, clematis, red poppies, and so many other colorful surprises which appear each spring. Sadly, daffodils rarely survive to naturalize around Central Texas.

  • Reply
    March 11, 2014 at 11:43 am

    The old black college and orphanage across from my house has a field that is solid yellow when the daffodils bloom in the spring. It is said the students lived on the property and farmed it in their spare time. If those flowers could talk, what a story they could tell!

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    March 11, 2014 at 11:15 am

    Beautiful bi-color….A large clump that is only blooming on the outer edge of the newest bulbs as they spread…so pretty!

  • Reply
    March 11, 2014 at 10:02 am

    Little clumps of Daffodils mark many deserted Coal Camps in this area. The old crumbled steps and Daffodils are the only remnants of a once thriving community. This was sometimes the only beauty in the yards.

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    March 11, 2014 at 9:16 am


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    Gina S
    March 11, 2014 at 9:02 am

    When I first read this passage from On Agate Hill my minds eye immediately recalled a chimney standing beside a road in McDowell County. Each spring daffodils bloomed nearby causing me to wonder on the woman who planted them. The blooms must be a fitting tribute to her memory.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    March 11, 2014 at 8:54 am

    Reminds me of my grandmother & her “jonquils”. Lee Smith has been one of my favorite writers for many years.

  • Reply
    March 11, 2014 at 8:06 am

    Beautiful. And true.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 11, 2014 at 7:58 am

    Perfect, Tipper! The picture matches the quote and they both match the time. I was walking yesterday and saw daffodil’s blooming.

  • Reply
    Judy Mincey
    March 11, 2014 at 7:54 am

    Lee Smith is one of my favorite writers. My book club read On Agate Hill. I have read all her work. My dear departed friend Lee Rogers planted hundreds of daffodils at her home in Danielsville, GA. They are blooming for her still.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    March 11, 2014 at 7:50 am

    Our first daffodil blossoms came out yesterday in Brevard, NC. They came out in town a week or so ago, but we are at a higher elevation than town. I guess spring is getting close. Still a few days of cold temperatures ahead, though.

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    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    March 11, 2014 at 7:49 am

    To me Lee Smith seems to be the very best author ever. She is not a native North Carolina author but somehow I ‘feel’ she is from these mountains! I have not read her new book “Guests on Earth” but I have it on my list.
    Eva Nell

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    Gary Powell
    March 11, 2014 at 7:33 am

    Sad, but true, daffodil quote. Wish I could paint a picture with words like that.

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    Roy Pipes
    March 11, 2014 at 7:25 am

    Every year where Grandpa Davis had a tenant house (long gone) flowers still come up wild, but it is a reminder of when people lived there. People who cared enough to plant flowers. When my Uncle Weldon and Aunt Annie Davis lived there I spend many night visiting with my cousins Billy and Sue. Great memories. Thanks for the reminders.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    March 11, 2014 at 7:13 am

    How lovely

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