After my Dad had already bravely battled Parkinson’s Disease for 28 years, I brought him to North Carolina to be nearer me. He had written computer programs, among many other things, when healthier, and he still loved using his computer as long as he even had short bursts of time throughout the day when he could keep his hands from shaking too much. One day I showed him this humble blog of mine- I don’t remember what the blog post was he saw- but it featured a photo I had taken of a rose from our garden. He exclaimed, in almost childlike wonder, “What a beautiful rose!”. I thought his enthusiastic admiration was just kindness, until the next time I visited him, and his computer desktop screen was a giant blowup of my rose photo! He really loved that rose.
I have a painting that my grandmother (his mother) painted and gave to him as a birthday present one year, (when I was very young) that I recently discovered had an envelope taped to the back, with the story of the painting hand written by my grandmother inside of it. Here is a not-very-good-photo of her painting:
My grandmother painted herself in the rose garden behind my great grandmother’s house. In the story she’d carefully written and taped to the back of the painting she thanked my Dad for all his hard work breaking up the concrete from out front into these blocks and placing them out back by the rose garden, while he was home from military duty when he was about 20 years old.
When I read what my grandmother had written I suddenly realized why my Dad had always loved his roses so much. He took boatloads of photos of his own roses, for as long as I can remember. They reminded him of his mother, and that rose-garden project they worked on together for my Dad’s grandmother, who we always called “Grandma Great”.
That was my grandmother- so thoughtful. What a loving birthday present to her son, and what care she took to ensure future generations would understand the significance of her painting.
My father has not been with us now for a couple of years- so this is the second time these roses of mine have bloomed since he has been gone. These roses will forever more remind me of my wonderful father and his lovely, thoughtful mother. In these roses I see, not just their beauty alone, but that also that of my father and his mother. These roses can never be just roses to me ever again.
Have a great weekend, and remember to take time to smell the roses!