Friday, July 10, 2009

The Rose Tree

It's every bride's dream to "set up housekeeping" with her husband in a home of their very own. But the year was 1940, and money was still tight; if it weren't for my grandmother's ability to spot an opportunity and take advantage of it, my grandparents may not have even gotten a farm of their own. There was certainly no money to spend decorating, or anything of the other things the woman of the house would desire to do. But a few flowers would certainly dress up the yard a bit...

You had to be tough in the "Dirty Thirties," whether you were a farmer, a farm animal, or a plant trying to put down roots in the blowing sand. "Rose trees" grew wild in the South Dakota ditches, so, armed with a shovel, my grandmother dug up a few of them and re-planted them in her yard. Years went by, times got better, more flowers were added, but the rose trees thrived and multiplied.

Seventeen years and four children later, a bolt of lightning took just about all they had, leaving a charred pile of rubble where their home once stood. And once again, the not-so-new bride started from scratch with a house in town. Of course, rose trees were brought in from the farm, bringing a sense of continuity when everything else had changed. 35 years later, their sweet aroma brought some comfort to her grieving family. For the next 15 years, the house was inhabited by my mother, and the rose trees proliferated throughout the yard. The time came for Mom to make her home with us in another state. As we left the house for the last time, armed with a shovel and some buckets, I dug up three small rose trees from the yard, and moved them 300 miles to their new home. On late spring days, the fragrance is sweetly comforting, reminding me that life continues. Traditions continue. I wonder where the rose trees will be in another 70 years...

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