If you have never read "The Daffodil Principle" by Jaroldeen Edwards (Shadow Mountain), then you have missed a wonderful story written by an insightful storyteller.

It's about how Edwards reluctantly accompanied her daughter, Carolyn, to see a magnificent field of daffodils — 50,000 spread over five acres, planted one at a time by a single woman over four decades.

Its message is that one person can make a difference.

The story has taken on a life of its own. Google Edwards' name and 1,300 listings pop up. The story isn't always attributed to her, so if you Google "Daffodil Principle," there are 25,700 links.

I spent some time with Jaroldeen about two months ago. Even though she seemed rather frail, she recounted experience after experience as we went all the way to our book club in Bountiful and back.

She recalled attending an event because she was interested in hearing the speaker. At the end of her talk, the woman told Jaroldeen's story and labeled it an urban fable.

Jaroldeen waited for the right moment to speak to the woman. It seemed a good idea to let her know it wasn't a fable at all but a true story she had written and published in her book "Celebration!" (It was also published as a lovely gift book with illustrations by Anne Marie Oborn.)

Jaroldeen sort of chuckled for a minute as she recalled the situation — the woman did not believe her and actually turned and walked away. It was then she knew the story really didn't belong to her and was content to know the message was touching so many people's lives.

Ironically, I received e-mails from two friends the next week with that story and no attribution, so I e-mailed them back letting them know where it was from. One of the women had known Jaroldeen well and was so glad to know the origin.

Well, this wonderful woman died two weeks ago. When I saw her obituary in the newspaper with her lovely face smiling back at me tears flowed. I still feel them welling as I write this. It isn't because I feel loss or sadness. I know Jaroldeen is in a better place and with her best friend and husband, Weston.

It is because I am so grateful that I knew her. I am so grateful that my children had her for a teacher. I am so grateful for the memories of her as a great example of a woman who had the personality and brilliance to be anything she chose to be.

What she chose was best expressed in her obituary: "Of all her accomplishments, Jerry's proudest and greatest achievements have been in the lives of her family and friends. She had a unique gift to recognize and appreciate the talents of others and to make them feel loved and lifted."

It made me think about what a friend is worth. There is an anonymous quote that goes like this: "Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same."

Everyone needs a Jaroldeen in his or her life — someone who has the capacity to lift us up and make us want to be more.

I hope you will look up her story and read it this very minute. You will see why I think the woman in her story isn't the only one who made a difference.


E-mail: sasyoung2@aol.com