A little old man walks out a back door and slowly makes his way to the garden. The sun casts early morning shadows across the yard tended gently for fifty five years.
His eyes heavy and weary give inspection of simple yard tending needs that he still has strength to complete. That needs a sweep. The hummingbird feeder is low. He shuffles over to the rose garden to scan each bud choosing an adolescent Tiffany Rose; peach with a touch of yellow. He carefully reaches, uncertain of his footing then balances. He ignores the buzzes of bees who wake up early to begin their gathering. He takes hold of the stem between thorns and with feeble hands bends it back and forth, back and forth until the flower breaks free from its life source. He shuffles back into the house placing the flower in a prepared vase next to his sweetheart’s chair of 67 years, where she will see it when she is wheeled in after she awakes. It was a ritual that was as ordinary as breathing.
The rose was still sitting in the same spot, in full bloom when I flew in for his funeral.
I had a romantic for a father. He left my mother love notes and roses from our garden my entire life. He would always bring them to whomever was close for a quick fragrance evaluation before he presented the delicate hand-picked flower to my mother.
It was always in the morning.
It was often propped up next to their bedroom door.
Parents do not always realize the small gestures they choose which teach volumes about who they are and what they love.
Roses always remind me of my dad…