My Mother was a gardener and had a 20 by 20 foot rose bed outside her bedroom door. It was always smelling heavenly when they were in bloom and the bedroom and hall smelled of roses.
My Grandmother Susie and Great Grandmother Belle had all grown roses, both in Ireland and America. Momma grew the same old fashioned kind in deep red and pinks that hung with a sweet fragrance in the East Texas air.
I have memories of her down on her knees in the dirt with manure being mixed in with coffee grounds and egg shells and goodness knows what else for their growth. Mother had a special vase in the vestibule of our house that held the roses so the fragrance would waft up when someone came to the front door. This rarely happened as we were back door people!
At Easter Momma would make sure I was wearing a red rose and she did to. Red meant your mother was living and white meant she was dead. In March of 1959 on the 11 my beloved Grandma Susie died. My Mother pinned the red rose on me that Easter and she wore a white carnation from the florist as she grew no white roses in her garden.
In 1973 my beloved mother died and so much of my world would end forever then. Her coffin was covered in pink carnations as it was November and red roses were too expensive Daddy said. I have always regretted not putting roses on her coffin and just hang the cost. But I was young and was too much in shock to push for that with Daddy. He would have done it if he had known how much it meant to me. Funerals are really for the living after all, aren't they?
That spring, in 1974, Momma's roses began to bloom again. That Easter I pinned a red rose on my daughter but did not pin a white one on myself. I could not bear to do it. My beloved mother was not dead to me. In the flesh she was, but not in my heart and that is where she remains till this very day.
I pinned a red one on me. Red for Life and red for Momma and most of all red for the generations of women who's blood flowed thru my veins, women that cooked, sewed, cleaned and came to a new world ... my heritage was scented with the sweet smell of red roses.
My daughter Raine grows red roses on her side patio in the studio she lives in on Main Street in Dallas. Yes, we have come full circle..from my mother digging in the dirt some near thirty years ago, to her granddaughter carrying on the tradition. It is a circle and we call it life. It is for the living and the dead, as we are intertwined with each other and always will be.
About the author:
Beverly is a storyteller, a writer and also a clown. She lives in Florida, but writes mostly of her childhood in Texas where she grew up. She has published "Cooking Up Memories", a hard bound cookbook with 250 recipes from internet cooking friends all over the world What makes the book so special is that all the recipes come with a memory about why that recipe is special. For more information on the book please email Beverly at Beverlycooks@aol.com. You can also visit her at the Valentina The Clown website.
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