The White Rose

Every Mothers day my grandmother picked a white rose from her flower garden for me to wear to church. I hated Mothers Day and white roses. I wanted to wear a red rose. I would pout and put up a fuss asking why I couldnít wear a red rose. We went through the same ritual each year.

"You have to wear a white rose when your mother is dead, itís tradition and your poor mother is dead." my grandmother would say.

" But youíre my mother now, Iíd say, so I should be able to wear a red one."

" No child, you just donít understand, I am still just your grandmother."

With that she pinned the white rose on my lapel and sent me on my way. My grandmother didnít go to church because we had a steep hill to climb and she just couldnít make it. We didnít have a car, in fact there were very few people in our town who did and they walked to church because gasoline was rationed.

There was a creek between our house and the church, just before the hill. One Mothers day I took my rose off and threw it in the creek and watched it float out of sight.

Of course, when I got to church, everyone there knew me and some asked where my rose was. Standing right there in church, I lied, saying with down cast eyes, " I lost it."

After the death of my grandmother when I was fifteen, my beautiful aunt who had shared the responsibility of raising me with my grandmother, since I was ten, had the job all alone.

I loved my grandmother with all my heart but what I felt for my aunt was adoration to the point of worship.

My grandmother died in March. The following Mothers Day, I picked the deepest red rose I could find and wore it. When my aunt saw it, she asked why I was wearing a red rose. I said what I had said to my grandmother all those years, " Because you are my mother now."

Tears welled in her eyes and she said, "If thatís the way you feel, Babe, then by all means wear it because I feel the same way." We both had a good cry.

My aunt didnít have any children. She had a little boy that died when he was three years old and she never had anymore, except for me.

I think the only disagreement I ever had with my grandmother was over the white rose.

I feel, and I guess I always have, that you donít have to give birth to a child to be its mother.

God was very good to me. He gave me two of the best.

I no longer hate white roses. I think all of Gods creations are beautiful.

A golden memory from childhood.

By Lora Cox  ©2001


My Beautiful Aunt, Picture taken Easter, 1942

Evelyn Lee Threadgill

August 30, 1909  January 1,1986