Saturday, April 18, 2015

Teatime Tale #16 - She Dreams in Roses

She Dreams in Roses

            Helen was out back tending to her irises when Malcolm walked up beside her.
            “What are those things called again?” he said.
            “Irises,” she said. Malcolm was a lawn-mowing fiend when it came to keeping the grass cut, but he would never be mistaken for a Master Gardener. “And I just noticed some rosebuds, too, so hopefully we’ll have roses soon.”
            “I saw where one of your pink roses bloomed out front this week.”
            “You know, over there with your rose bushes.”
            Helen walked briskly to the front of the house and looked at her David Austin English rose bushes. No buds. No blossoms.
            Malcolm had followed her there. “It’s that pink one”—he pointed to a corner of the flower garden—“although it looks a little bent-over right now.”
            “That’s a tulip, dear,” she said, but she wasn’t disappointed. Roses were welcome whenever they decided to arrive, and Helen didn’t mind having to wait for something so lovely to appear.

            As a gentle mist began to fall, she went inside the house to warm herself with a cup of tea and read her new issue of Country Gardens magazine. As she looked on the pantry shelf where she kept her tea tins, it occurred to her that she had been drinking more and more tea lately. Earl Grey and Lady Earl Grey. Darjeeling. Hot Cinnamon Spice. And there in the corner was a tea she’d forgotten about—a gold foil packet labeled Springtime Rose, a rose-flavored black tea she’d purchased at a tea room a few months earlier.
            Helen had recently invested in a teacup and saucer rack that hung in her kitchen. From it, she carefully removed a pretty bone china teacup with a salmon-pink rose on it. She fingered the cup while the stovetop kettle boiled the water.
            The slow, leisurely ritual was one she never tired of. Helen measured a spoonful of tea into her stainless steel infuser basket, placed it in her teacup, and waited for the kettle to signal that her water was ready.
            She fingered the cup and studied the rose. So simple. So lovely.
            Helen had loved roses ever since she was a little girl, and she never forgot the woman who taught her to love them.

            Grandma Mary lived out in the country in a rambling white two-story house with a wraparound porch that Helen remembered for its rocking chairs and the cousins who were usually filling them. The house was frequently a gathering place for her father’s side of the family, and a visit to Grandma Mary’s always meant Helen would get to visit with some cousin or other she didn’t always get to see back in town.
            Helen’s grandmother loved her flower gardens, and Helen could never think of her grandmother without remembering her Mason jars and roses. Inevitably, the springtime porch would be perfumed with the scent of old-fashioned roses packed into Mason jars, spilling forth their sweet fragrance onto whichever family members happened to be visiting.
            One spring when Helen was about six or so, her parents had to go out of town on business, and so she got to spend a week visiting her grandparents. That was back when Grandpa Harold was still alive. He’d been working the farm all day, so Helen helped her grandmother with the housekeeping and meal preparation. She could still taste the sausage from those hearty country breakfasts. Grandma Mary’s sausage was legendary, and none Helen had tasted since had even come close to comparing to her grandmother’s.
            One day, the household chores were finished early. Lunch had been prepared and served, and the dishes had been cleared from the table and washed. Grandma Mary had dried her hands on her apron, taken Helen by the hand, and said, “Come on, sweetheart. Let’s go visit my roses.”
            Grandma Mary had a special basket she liked to carry on her arm when she was tending to her roses. She would examine one blossom, then another, and eventually select one that she’d cut off with her pruning shears and place in the basket.
            “See these thorns, child?” her grandmother had said. “Don’t fear the thorns. They can hurt you only if you’re not careful around them, and they’re quite helpful to the roses. If there weren’t any thorns, animals might eat the roses or climb up the bushes, and there we’d be—no beautiful roses for us to enjoy.”
            It was such a simple lesson, and Helen never forgot her grandmother’s practical country wisdom.
            Helen never forgot the scent of her grandmother’s roses either. Grandma Mary liked deep red roses, and hers had those lush, velvety petals that smelled so sweet, the fragrance always lingered in the mind long after the rose itself had dropped its petals and withered away.
            The whistle of the tea kettle told Helen it was time to stop daydreaming and start steeping her cup of tea.
            Malcolm walked by the kitchen and paused when he saw the teacup. “Now that’s a rose and not a tulip,” he said.
            “That’s correct, dear,” Helen said.
            Malcolm smiled and headed to the den.
            Helen lingered over her teacup and inhaled deeply. A fragrance reminiscent of her grandmother’s country roses wafted through the air.
            And Helen realized it didn’t matter at all whether she had roses blooming in her garden, for she would always have them blooming in her soul.


  1. You have captured such vivid imaginations of beauty here, Angela! I think I may scour my cupboards to light my Yankee Candle "Fresh Cut Roses" now - smells so real. And, well, perhaps hit the grocery and buy some! I have a few rose bushes but they're young and I am a new gardener, so my roses don't produce enough to cut - not yet, but it's fun to dream of one day....for be able to fill his or her canning jars with roses!

    We've had such lovely spring weather. This is so exciting! Loved your story, as always!!!

  2. Lovely story it made me think of my visits to my grandmother's farm. I am waiting for my first bearded iris to blume, no roses yet. I will have to enjoy some tea today in my American Rose teacup! Thank you, Angela.

  3. That's Bloom! Crazy computer!!

  4. Beautiful Story. I really enjoyed reading this and I could almost imagine being there.

  5. Angela, this is a wonderful story. I loved both my grandmothers so much. Your sweet story brought back many beautiful memories. Thank you. Nancy Carr

  6. I hope everyone has a Grandma Mary! We must always stop to smell the roses.....and laugh at Grandpa Harold too! Love this story....reminiscing is good for the soul!

  7. Angela, this is such a lovely story! A story of love and times past! ♥

  8. Another enchanting read !!!!!

  9. What a lovely story. It brought back wonderful memories of visiting my grandparents in Dixie, Ontario. My grandfather made delicious sausages & grandma would take me to visit her chickens. I don't remember roses, but she did had many beautiful peony bushes.

  10. I think our grandchildren will remember me as the tea granny gardener. :-) For some reason my thorny roses don't deter the rabbits, they chomp them right back, along with pretty much everything else.
    Great story as usual Angela.

  11. What a lovely story, Angela, love all your details. And that last line, "when Helen realized it didn't matter whether she had roses blooming in her garden, for she would always have them blooming in her heart."

    Your writing gets me all the time, Angela - you're wonderful! Love this series so much, hope you have a nice weekend , Joanie

  12. Oh I love that last line of roses blooming in our soul. Yes! so very true~


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