Nov. 15, 2019

1977 Rose Walk

“Memories are timeless treasures of the heart.”

“Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”

My dear friend, Pat Todd, sent me a text a few days ago, containing a piece I had written in 1977 for a church newspaper, “The Spokesman,” which only lasted a few months, but I so enjoyed writing for it and I remembered that I had saved some of them. Deep in the recesses of a file cabinet, I found four of these papers and read what I had written then in a column entitled, “Pass The Peanut Butter.” I had also written a children’s column, “For Small People Only,” where I began to write “The Adventures of Portulaca The Cat (As Told To A Close Friend).” I was absolutely delighted with all these pieces and thought you might enjoy one of two of them, too. Written in November, 1977, our daughter, Crissy, was 8 years old and in second or third grade. (Here's her school picture for around that time.)

“Life brings tears, smiles and memories. The tears dry, the smiles fade, but the memories last forever.”

“Crissy,” I said, “How would you like to walk to school today? Instead of driving to school together, we could walk together.”

“That’s great, Mom,” she said. “then if we see any roses along the way we can smell them, ‘cause you can’t smell any roses from the car!” Honest, folks, she really said that.

So, off we went, me in my running shoes and cup of coffee and Crissy with book-bag and Donny & Marie lunch pail. She watching for any stray roses and me mulling over an article in yesterday’s (November, 1977) Los Angeles Times by the health guy, Dr. Solomon, who told me, and since I read it in the Times it must be true, that if I would apply my feet to the ground for just 20 minutes per day that I would burn up 120 extra calories, which would add up to 3,600 in 30 days. Now, as there are 3,500 calories in a pound of excess baggage, that meant that I could lose a pound a month by just doing a little rose smelling on the way to school. A little additional higher math proved out to be 12 pounds for a year of rose walks. Not bad at all. (No, I didn’t do it every day and I certainly didn’t lose 12 pounds!)

On the way down the hill we talked, “If I just had a chain and a lock for my bike, I could ride to school all by myself...”

“No, not yet, Crissy, there are two busy streets to cross...” My heart cries, not yet, not yet, don’t grow up so fast. The years have flown too fast already.

We notice pink and white roses growing together on the same bush. How does that happen? Lawns look brown and dry, but the flowers are brilliant in every yard. Are lawns “duty” and flowers ‘joy”? There are roses in almost every yard. Some manicured within an inch of their lives, others barely pruned at all, covered with flowers in all stages, buds to falling petals.

A Persian fable says...

“One day a wanderer found a lump of clay,

So redolent of sweet perfume, its odors scented all the room.

“What art thou?” was his quick demand,

“Art thou some gem from Samarkand, or spikenard in this rude disguise,

Or other costly merchandise?”

“Nay, I am but a lump of clay.”

“Then whence this wondrous perfume – say!”

“Friend, if the secret I disclose, I have been dwelling with the rose.”

Sweet parable! And will not those who love to dwell with Sharon’s Rose,

Distill sweet odors all around, though low and mean themselves are found?”

Dear Lord, abide with us that we may draw our perfume fresh from Thee.”

(Streams In The Desert, 1915, by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman)

Thank you, Jesus, for just a little idea, to take a walk, for as with all the little ideas that come from You, it was wrapped ‘round, filled with, overflowing and glorious with blessings for me. I saw your awesome majesty looking up at the hills, clouds and sunlight danced in the heavens just for me. I saw an asparagus fern slyly invading the ivy across the sidewalk. So much beauty all around and, no, you really can’t smell any roses from the car.

“It’s nice walking down to school, Mom, but you’ll be lonely on the way home.”

“No, Crissy, I won’t, for I’ll chat with Jesus all the way home and ask Him to give you a specially nice day, for He will be walking with me.”

My thanks to the Master Gardener for a beautiful rose walk. I enjoyed those early morning walks in 1977 and now, 2019, I still do. Not seeing many roses anymore, but the Arizona Saguaros and yellowbells give me just as much joy.