I took him to see our apple trees. (He used to farm fruit. I remember visiting him once in a commercial orchard and being naively shocked at the quantities of windfalls that he was leaving to rot). He said our trees were in reasonable shape. I said they hadn't fruited last year and he said that's because apple trees in their natural state only fruit biannually and if you want them to be more forthcoming you have to prune them viciously. I've lived to be 64 without knowing that.
He and my mother always seem to have been fond of one another. And why not? Twenty minutes after he'd left she turned to me and said, "Can you tell me who brought the flowers?"