(Editor's Note: This article was originally published on March 19, 2008. Your comments are welcome, but please be aware that authors of previously published articles may not be able to promptly respond to new questions or comments.)
It started out as a normal day. I really had no plans to do much of anything, which is a common ailment among those of us who are retired. After all, it was mid February, the worst of winter was surely past, and I ambled around in my cold brown flower gardens taking in all that the sunny 50 degrees had to offer. I spied what surely was a bud on my daffodils, and looking closely I counted eight or ten iris popping up here and there. And oh, my beloved daylilies, they were already reaching their green shoots up to the sun. Tulips, buds on the trees, birds chirping, can spring be far behind?
That was in the morning, and after I gathered up the remains of the Sunday morning paper, I continued to browse through the ads that appeared in full color pages. Next up was the Walmart flyer, it had a few more pages than normal and I caught a glimpse of rosebushes.
It had been many years since I had even tried to grow roses, but a rose is a rose and to me it evokes memories of grandmothers and old homeplaces. My first attempt at growing roses was a total disaster. I had growing children, and that involved ball games and swimming lessons, not to mention the fact that most of my yard at one time or another had been a badminton court, a basketball court, a place for practicing tennis, a football field, a spot for attempting back handsprings, a go cart track, and a skateboard ramp had once stood very close to one of those roses that was uselessly attempting survival. I gave up years ago on roses.
However, things had changed, and my children were all grown up with lives of their own, so I had plenty of time and space to devote to my garden. I would never have considered roses, but throughout the dreary days of winter I had cultivated some very wonderful friends on Dave's Garden. Many of them grow beautiful roses. And now in mid February, WALMART HAD THEIR FIRST SHIPMENT OF ROSES!
I had learned from my DG friends that I should buy bare root roses, and in my ignorance I had to turn to Google to see what that term meant. So after googling roses all winter (lest I be considered totally ignorant in my posts to my friends) I was thinking seriously about attempting another rose garden. Now there they were, only a few miles away. I could already see them in full bloom growing up my brick arches, adajacent to my daylilies, in the farthest reaches of my back corner, along my driveway, in the spot where the recently removed Magnolia had held center stage for 30 years, bordering my deck, and on and on. I would have roses!
Off I went to my nearest Walmart store. I was a woman on a mission. I had a plan. I would start with only a few, and go from there. Aha! Jackpot! The newly shipped roses had just been unloaded and were all lined up waiting for me. I had a lot to choose from, but I was in my car and was limited to what would fit. I loaded up on the beauties, reading labels like a pro!
Selection made, I headed home, rose bushes resting peacefully in my trunk, on the floor in the back, and also on the floor on the front passenger's side. Music on, green tea in hand, I headed on down the road, just my roses and me. There was little traffic on this 10 mile trek from Walmart to my house. My mind was going a mile a minute, Don Juan would climb up my brick arches. Lady X could go in the south west corner. Camelot near the deck, Mr. Lincoln belonged in the spot left by the Magnolia. I had plans and this was just the beginning.
I got about a mile from home, no traffic around me, and was awakened from my visions of gloriously blooming roses by a siren, barely heard over the sound of music that was filling my car. I glanced in the rearview mirror, and to my wondering eyes did appear flashing blue lights. The rose bubble popped!
Panic seized me. Where was my license, my registration, proof of insurance? I held my breath, hoping he would go on by but I was the only car on the road. OK, so I pulled over. Flashing blue lights pulled in behind me and suddenly heavy traffic appeared on the road. Trust me, all eyes turned my way. OK, I could handle this, I plastered a quivering smile on my face.
Now I rank among those who did not grow very much and in the words of one of those dear DG friends, "OMG, you are Liliputian!" Believe me, that officer who approached my car was anything but Liliputian. He identified himself (as if I didn't already know) as a city police officer and very kindly asked if I knew how fast I was traveling. "No," said I, "please tell me." (Oh gag, what a wimpy reply,) "Well ma'm, you were going 70 in a 55 mph zone. What were you thinking?"
I had to lean my head way back in order to see his face, he was that tall. Oh dear, what was I thinking? "Roses," I said.
"Yes, sir, roses." I gulped, and he shook his head.
Long story short, he needed my license and my insurance card; of course I am not totally ignorant, I do watch TV occasionally, even though I had never been stopped by anybody. Well, there was that time when I was a teenager...
Anyway, after what seemed to be a couple of hours but in fact was only a matter of minutes, the giant approached again. "Ma'm," he said, "you have no previous citations, and when I requested information I found that you have not one blemish on your record. I also recognize your address, because I patrol that area. I am very familiar with your house where the flowers grow, and if you don't slow down I won't get to enjoy those roses that you are carrying around with you. I am giving you a warning this time, and I hope you will wait till you get home before you think about your roses. Y'all have a good day now, Ma'm."
I simply did not know whether to laugh or to cry: "the house where the flowers grow." Ahhh, what an epitaph! I live in the "house where the flowers grow"! I have not told this story to very many people, but I thought you might understand and keep it secret. Sometime our passion for our gardens takes over our days, our hearts and our lives, but we all need to be more cautious when it overcomes our common sense. But awww gee, that giant of a policeman knows the house where the flowers grow.
Y'all have a good day now.
Thanks to my friend Zuzu for the pictures of the rose and the rose garden, maybe this year I will be able to share my roses with her.
All other photographs are from the author's collection.