Monday, July 12, 2010

Her Roses in My Vase

roses 002
Every year Mrs. Z’s flesh-ripping rosebush produces the most delicate, apricot-orange, aromatic roses.

For many summers I have fed and watered this rosebush. From her cottage up north, Mrs. Z would phone regularly for a bud and bloom count. She would let me have the roses—at least the ones she hadn't promised elsewhere.

This summer Mrs. Z didn't go up to the cottage; she is in a long-term care facility. I still take care of her roses.

During a short dry spell when I went to Mrs. Z's vacant house to water the rosebush, I found it loaded with half a dozen lovely blooms. I arranged them in my favourite simple white vase on my dining room table—an aromatic delight to behold, and only one thorny flesh wound as payment.

When Allison beheld my treasure she asked, “When are you bringing them over to Mrs. Z’s?”

“I’m not, she gave them to me.”

“That’s not what she told me when I visited her. She’s expecting them.”

Of course, what was I thinking?

The next day Allison and I drove the vase of roses out to the long-term care facility where Mrs. Z. lies abed. She was delighted to see us and even more delighted to see the roses which she immediately asked me to trim. "They will last longer if you cut the stems everyday."

I trimmed the stems as I transferred the roses from my favourite white vase into her little brown jug, but Mrs. Z. stopped me. She insisted the roses stay in the white vase—then she could check the water level. (She is rather blind and guessed the white china was clear glass.)

Allison tried to correct this misbelief, but to no avail. According to Mrs. Z. my vase was see-through and lighter to handle than her brown jug. She put out her hands to hold the vase for herself, warning me not to let go.

Of course, I let her have the vase and the roses. It sits in her window, an aromatic delight to behold.

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