Roses remind me of my mother. And of my mother-in-law. And of my–well, Shane’s, but therefore my–Aunt Verna. And also of Shane. Just to name a few.
It must have taken great courage for my mother to move to Oregon. Or perhaps greater courage to stay. Even after she found out she was deathly allergic to nearly every kind of pollen in the valley with (allegedly) the longest growing season in the country.
But how did she cope? She grew roses. Jackson Perkins were her favorite. I don’t really recall the roses she loved in our Junction City house, but I do recall the rose and flower beds right at the entrance to the house.
What I remember most are the roses she grew in every home she ever lived in after my father died and she moved the family back to Utah. And how at her Springville home she grew a particular rose tall enough it would peek over the fence. Simply because it was her next door neighbor’s favorite.
I remember Barbara’s 4 0′clocks more than I remember her roses, but I do remember how she loved flowers. And managed to make the desert of the Uintah Basin bloom. And I’m fairly certain that, as with my mother, nearly every single birthday card she ever sent me had roses on the front.
And Aunt Verna. When Shane and I were dating he used to drive me down to Verna’s during the summer to visit and also to send me home with a couple or three of her roses, stems usually wrapped in wet paper towels, covered in tinfoil to hold in the water. Verna had a long line of beautiful roses planted along her property line adjacent to the south end of 5th West, or state street.
While I one day home to return to the care and keeping of roses, for now Shane is the keeper of those we inherited when we bought this house 17 years ago. And those we transplanted from Aunt Verna’s. And those my mom gave us, or others gave us when we lost people we love. And those we purchased simply because they’re our favorite. And they smell good. And for some reason–whatever reason–the color or shape or fragrance reminds of us those people we lost and love.
And every now and then I find a couple of buds, barely opening, in a bud vase. Just for me. And they remind me of all the roses past. And those who grew them.