I meant to do this post on Oct. 28. Humor me and pretend.
Roses in October
Rhett and I bought our house in 2006 (Dec). I knew the owners had spent a lot of time with their flower beds even though it was winter and they were dormant. There was a large flower bed in the back, an iris bed on the side of the house (with giant mum and peony bushes flanking them), a row of various exotic flowers (e.g., hibiscus) along the fence line on one side of the backyard, irises, tulips, and daffodils around the perimeter of the concrete slab right out our back door, and two rose bushes in the front of the house. The woman loved irises; they were everywhere! Not so much my favorite flower, the iris.
The first summer, the flowers got out of control because I am NOT a gardener, but they were beautiful! Rhett and I had talked about plowing under the large flower bed in the back to put in a vegetable garden after the “season” was over. About this time, I was planning a football party for our faculty and doc students: a daytime, outdoor “tailgate” theme. A week before the party, Rhett plowed under the flowerbed! This is just one of the many examples of the miscommunication that occurs between us. I didn’t clarify that I wanted the beauty and ambiance of the flowers for my party. He didn’t tell me he was going to do it, giving me a chance to ask him to wait. Part of me believes he purposely didn’t tell me because he knew I’d ask him not to. This is bolstered by the fact that he has not stopped pestering me to plow under every single flower bed and area. Even the roses.
I’ve waivered on plowing under every flower and bed—and caved—except the roses. We’re keeping the roses. Below is a picture taken just this month.
The reason I am adamant about keeping the roses is because my mother loved roses. Her favorite flower was the yellow rose. Neither of mine are yellow. One is salmony-coral and the other is magenta. Nevertheless, every time I look at my blooming rosebushes, I think of my mom. I find it fascinating that today, October 28, there are buds and blooms, and they are particularly beautiful. Because 30 years ago today, my mother died of cancer.
It was exactly one week before my 16th birthday. 3 days before Halloween. She was 52 years old, a mother of 10, four of us still at home. The youngest was 14.
In 6 six years, I will be her age. That gives me great pause.
My mother was a neat woman (really, whose mom isn’t/wasn’t?). Things I remember—which, by the way, may be either wrong or just different from my older siblings as children in families as large as ours probably actually have different family experiences given the age difference—include the following:
• We got to pick what dinner we wanted on our birthdays. I remember one brother picked chop suey. I think it was a new thing then because now I think it is gross.
• She made awesome birthday cakes. The 2 I remember are doll cakes and train cakes.
• She was a bit of a prankster. When my oldest brother got married and went on his honeymoon, she short-sheeted their bed, balanced buckets of rice on doors tops, and saran-wrapped the toilet (I could be mis-remembering this entire bullet).
• She loved sweets. I eventually ended up with her tin recipe box (Thanks to sister-in-law #1). 7/8 of the recipes are for desserts.
• She loved her sisters. And liked them, too.
• She struggled with her weight, too. My youngest sister remembers going to a Weight Watcher’s meeting with her and stopping for ice cream on the way home.
• By her own admission (I have the letters she wrote to my dad when he was in the army stationed in Germany post-WWII), she didn’t really enjoy nursing school, which she attended after graduating high school. It sounded like she wasn’t a good student, but she was president of her high school class, and class presidents aren’t usually dummies.
• She finished nursing school about 25 years or so after she started. Her youngest was in Kindergarten, I think.
Okay, sibs, if you read this, I want to know if I got anything right, particularly thebirthday dinners. If that memory is accurate, what did you pick? And does anyone remember what I picked?