The Oklahoma Rose
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The Oklahoma Rose
Stephen A. Peterson
In Sasakwa, Oklahoma lived a 90 some year old, Native American woman of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma named Delores. The locals better knew Delores as “Oklahoma Rose”. She acquired this name more than 70 years ago when she was a young girl who raised roses then gave them to people who suffered tragedic losses—the death of a family member or friend, the loss of a job, the death of a pet. If you saw Delores, a person would think she suffered few, if any hardships. Yet before she reached her 8th birthday, both of Delores’ parents died during the Spanish Influenza outbreak of 1919-1922. Just a few years following the death of her parents, her uncle was lynched by an angry mob that accused him of looking at a white woman while she and her uncle went into town for food and other necessary items. The horror of having to watch her beloved uncle lose his life in this way strengthened her resolve never to allow hatred to rule her life—not even towards those who murdered her uncle leaving her aunt and Delores to struggle to exist.
Over time, people, regardless of age, race or gender when tragedy occurred was paid a visit from Delores with a red rose to offer comfort. Delores didn’t have any money to speak of but, in her opinion, God gave her a green thumb. When asked, she would say, “As long as God keeps her heart beating, her mind working and her roses growing, I’m going to use them to serve Almighty God--the Giver of love and life.”
Everyone far and wide referred to Delores as the sweetest, nicest, Godly old lady that ever lived. A few days before Christmas, a 10-year-old girl named Elizabeth came to see Delores. She was very sad because some boys at school told her she was fat and ugly. Elizabeth asked Delores, “Why didn’t God make me beautiful and pretty like my big sister Miss Delores?”
“Elizabeth, I remember very well when your sister was about your age. You look so much like she did when she was around 10 years old. Boys around 11 and 12 are not very smart and they don’t see so good until they are around 14 or 15. Those boys will like how you look that you’ll have a hard time keeping your pictures. They’ll want you to wear their jackets and class rings, too!
Elizabeth was not convinced. So Delores said, “Elizabeth, while you’re little, your grown face is squeezed into a small space just like this rose right here that you can see now. When your face grows a little more in a few years your face will stretch and grow out like this rose over here. See! Why Elizabeth, I wouldn’t be one bit surprise if you grew up to be the prettiest young lady in the whole school! So, Elizabeth, don’t listen to people whose eyesight is not so good. Now here is a rose! You are God's child and He never makes any person ugly just a little different to show His love to everybody!” Elizabeth left Delores' house knowing that the Creator of all things and people loved her in a special way.
Delores understood God’s love and did whatever was necessary to passed to Elizabeth and many others with her roses and words of wisdom over the years. Delores didn’t live to see Elizabeth blossom into the beautiful rose that she did become. But when Elizabeth went through a difficult phase in her life, she remembered what Delores had said to her, “If you don’t have a few kind words for hurting person or pretty rose to give lovingly—hold onto them and wait. Someone will need them. Now Elizabeth is the Oklahoma Rose.
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