In my mind at least, the perfect lilacs this year were over on Mortenson Road, not far from the intersection with University Boulevard. Lilacs always make me think of my mom. I was born when mom was 40, so unfortunately, I will always think of my mom as old (I know, 40 is NOT that old!). Most lilac bushes are old too, standing the test of time, you don’t fully understand where they came from or what they’ve been through, but you love their beautiful profusion, the intoxicating fragrance, their simplicity. My mom came from a simple background, she and her sister and her mom making it on their own by housekeeping and living with relatives. They enjoyed simple things, creamed vegetables on toast for supper, sprucing up a little black dress with a variety of collars and cuffs, going swimming in the rock quarry and singing duets. I don’t know where all the lilacs in Ames have come from, but I love their reminders that the best things in life don’t have to be complicated and expensive and that my mom was able to create a beautiful life in the same spirit.