The Rose That Never Fades

by Anne Gentry

Many years ago my husband presented me with a single, long-stemmed rose on
Mother’s Day. It was a rather unusual rose, made from sea shells he had
collected on one of our many trips to St. Petersburg Beach, Florida, or perhaps
they were from Mazatlan, Mexico, another favorite winter get-away destination.
The rose bud was a channelled whelk shell, which he had lacquered red, and the
leaves were nautilus shells, painted green. These had all been attached to a
straight twig from a tree branch, also painted green. (I turned to Anne Morrow
Lindbergh’s book Gifts from the Sea for identification of the shells, which may not
be correct.)

When I was presented with this unusual rose that Mother’s Day long ago, I
marveled at my husband’s creativity, but I also remember feeling a twinge of
disappointment that there had been no florist’s delivery of “real” roses.
As the years passed, I grew to appreciate my shell rose more and more. I
“planted” it in a bed of sand in a silver bowl, which I placed on the fireplace
mantel in our bedroom.

Shortly after this Mother’s Day, it will be two years since my husband died. I miss
him every day. The rose on the mantel is a precious reminder of the man who
was my husband for 26 years. It speaks of both his fantasy and frugality, but
more importantly of his great patience and enduring love

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