The Original Daffodil Dandy
At the turn of the century something happened in the communities of Smithville and Wright Station…something unexpected and welcome:
The summer of 1899 was hot. Of course most Missouri summers are, but for some reason this one seemed hotter. Maybe it was the continuing feud ~ a skirmish between the Smiths and the Wrights had taken a heavy toll that spring and the families were uneasy.
One evening in mid-June out of the shimmering heat The Stranger arrived. He was handsome. Rugged, yet gentle. The men respected him and the women swooned.
Oh, how they swooned!
The following spring in 1900 the towns experienced what came to be know as THE BLOOM. More babies were born in both Smithville and Wright Station than had ever been born before – and more than a few resembled The Stranger more than their rightful father/daddy.
And as all those babies were being born DAFFODILS bloomed in places where no one remembered planting them. Drifts of flowers bloomed across property lines and town borders.
As mysteriously as he appeared, in the summer of 1900 he disappeared. No one was ever sure of his real name but because he had set down roots for one short year the long-held wounds of Smithville and Wright Station began to heal. Residents were connected in ways they had not been connected before. Barriers started to fall, especially as “the bloom babies” grew and played together. And each spring more daffodils bloomed.
Although the identity of The Stranger remains a mystery, his presence is still felt…and seen. There have been at least 32 sightings of The Stranger since he left town. Currently, Daffodilians are searching old family photos for possible evidence of his subsequent visits.
The Stranger is known today as the Original Daffodil Dandy.
Even the presence of The Stranger wasn’t quite enough to unite the towns. For that to happen it took a national crisis and the vision of one man….
Next: Unification and the Reign of Earl Delaney Smith