Chapel Chimes: Cahaba Lilies

By Sarah Sexton | Publish Date June 12, 2023

Reflection from Kirkwood Chaplain, The Rev. Lucy Turner

A few days after our Kirkwood residents took a field trip to take in the wonder of the Cahaba Lilies in bloom, one resident, who had been captivated by the splendor of the lilies, was in the Kirkwood Library looking for more information about the flowers. I joined in the search, partly to help her, but also because I had recently enjoyed a canoe trip on the Cahaba River to the area where the lilies grow.

We decided it best to search the internet. We found a wonderful video created by Dr. Randy Haddock, the recently retired Field Director for the Cahaba River Society, on the Society’s website. We watched for 30 minutes as Dr. Haddock explained so much about these unique flowers and their habitat, reproduction, pollination, blooms, and ecological threats.

The video answered many of the resident’s questions and satisfied her desire to know more about the lilies that had not only captured her imagination, but also fed her delight in God’s beautiful creation. As the video ended, she exclaimed, “And we live right here on this river!”

Kirkwood is located on the Cahaba River, which is the unique home to this beautiful flower. We may not have Cahaba lilies blooming on our stretch of the river, but we do enjoy a wonderful view of the river from the living and dining rooms and other community gathering spaces.

Water has a way of drawing us in, making us pause, and inviting us to stay. For some of us, we find this particular respite at the beach or at the lake. For those at Kirkwood, we find it along a flowing stream that reminds us of the steadfast love and faithfulness of God who has planted us here.


The Residents

Our residents come from different backgrounds and bring their unique qualities, talents, and life experiences to complete the Kirkwood community. Here are just a few reflections from some individuals who call Kirkwood their home.

I fell in love with the cottage and the view from my back porch. I am excited to have a yard for Ginger, my poodle, to play in and my own garage, all within an established retirement community!

Charlotte Hamilton Current Resident

My husband and I looked at a number of places when deciding to move to a retirement community. For the most part, we found communities that said, ‘We’re going to take care of you.’ But Kirkwood was different. It wasn’t just about taking care of us. It was also about having fun, having friends, and living life to the fullest. The attitude at Kirkwood was positive and the atmosphere was comforting. We simply couldn’t resist. Without a doubt, the location was ideal. The Cahaba Room that overlooks the river, the mountains, the trails – there were just so many things about life. The community was lively. It was alive.

Alice Brooks Current Resident

We realized we were approaching an age where we might need more assistance than what just downsizing could provide. Knowing we have my sons nearby and the levels of care should we need it is comforting, and the beautiful hillside, river, and the woods makes it that much more appealing. We don’t know of any other community that has the woods, the various levels of care, and so many different amenities.

Phyllis and John Guschke Current Residents

We were moving my parents down from the Cleveland area to be near us. I looked at almost every retirement place in the Birmingham area. The second I turned into Kirkwood’s drive and drove up the hill, I knew that I’d found the perfect place for my parents to live in Alabama. In the six years that my parents have been at Kirkwood, I have always felt nothing but love and helpfulness from every staff member. Everyone is always helpful with a pleasant attitude. You can truly see and feel the family atmosphere. I’m happy that my parents can call Kirkwood their home.

Brenda Sheehan Kirkwood family member

When we learned that Cedar Ridge was being developed, that seemed to fit our needs very well. It is the ideal place for the next phase of our retirement.

Carol and Arthur Stephens Current Residents

One thing that we feel is very important here at Kirkwood by the River is the relationship that we have between the staff and the residents. They are dedicated to making our life here as safe and secure and pleasurable as possible. That goes a long way.

Fred Rogers Current Resident

The community's cottage living surrounded by a wooded, natural environment with access to future healthcare services is what attracted us to Kirkwood!

Rick and Jane Ricketts Current Residents