Mom’s red rose

I recall a day I’d prompted my dad to buy my mom a rose.

Dad had spent the week with me in Chicago, so he could paint my condo. He was to board a train home to Minnesota. Before we left for the station, I took him to a florist to buy Mom a rose.

It seemed like leading a horse to a thistle patch. Dad didn’t understand why I was taking him there.

Once he purchased the rose, he gave an anticipatory smile. He realized this rose said more than he could in words.

Dad had done this before, expressed his love for Mom sans words — per dancing with her throughout their years together, through gestures and through his eyes tearing at sentimental occasions.

Yet when it came time to buy my mom presents — for anniversary, birthday or Christmas — he remained lost. His gauge when shopping, for example, was a bottle of perfume he found at a drugstore and that he valued by its exravagant bottle size. Such gifts remained chortle-able to today, per Mom’s recalling.

How relieved Dad was when my older sisters came of age to guide him in presents to complement my mom. Scarves, blouses, skirts, satin,  silk and cashmere.

The pampering end of practical, in retrospect. Clothing in elegant materials — and in styles that suited my mom’s boldness and elegance.

Yet now I prompted Dad to bring Mom a present sans an occasion, a simple rose, long-stemmed, red bloom. He boarded the train, ready to care for the rose.

I asked my mom about it, after Dad arrived home. O yes, he gave her the rose, she said, and she liked it. Yet per her description, he seemed more excited than she was about his giving it to her.

He had in his hand, a new way to express his love for her. It was a traditional way, and it said so much — especially because my dad was the one giving her the red rose.

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