Friday, September 18, 2009

A Rose By Any Other Name

Back in the early spring, when the ground was first waking up around here, my friend Sam gave me this Rose of Sharon tree. I found it one afternoon on my front porch along with a Japanese Maple and instantly knew it was from him. ( A quick phone call to my neighbor Marie confirmed this as she was good friends with him too and had received the same thing). It was small - like 6 inches and literally just a stick in the mud, a cutting with maybe 4 or 5 leaves. It has lived on my back deck for the summer, sheltered, pampered, and well loved because Sam gave it to me.

Sam is a 67-year old man who lived around the bend from us and is five-year brain cancer. I took an instant liking to him because he reminds me a great deal of my New and Improved Dad (Can I still call him that? It's been nearly 10 years since he has taken on that role in my life...) Back to the matter at hand: I first met Sam in the frosty early mornings of last November as we collected pecans from the abundant and prolific pecan trees near our home here on base. At about 6:30 a.m. on my way home from my daily walk, I would stop by the ones on the corner of Magruder and the main gate road to collect them and invariably, he was there every morning too. The friendship was cemented when we discovered we both had an interest in green growing things. He has taught me a great deal about living in the moment, letting go of old grievances, and just being. When his cancer was first discovered, they told him he had 2-3 months to live but here he is, laughing and living as if each day was the most perfect day in the world because to him, it is.

I was sad when his wife of 40+ years retired and they moved off base this summer. I will miss him this fall. When he gave me this Rose of Sharon cutting, I had no idea what it would look like, what it would turn into and was delighted when it started blooming this week. I mean, look at that flower! Look at the big fat pink bud, those glossy green leaves. Just lovely.

I don't want to just give it away when we move - it's too valuable to me. I know I still have two more years before we have our next assignment, but I am already trying to figure out what to do with it.

Hmmm...I wonder, do Rose of Sharons grow in UT? Maybe my New and Improved Dad will like it.

1 comment:

Being Me said...

I think they might. It looks just like a shrub I had when I lived in KS. They went dormant in the winter and got a bit bigger every year. In the '90s I used to look out the window at them while listening to Iris Dement sing about the Sweet Rose of Sharon in her Mama's Opry song.