Don't Drown in the Water
World War II was underway and the British and the French were struggling to defeat the Germans. A young couple was hurriedly married and trying frantically to say Goodbye while still being respectful of the guests. Don desperate to be alone with his new wife grabs Helen’s hand and takes her outside. He walks over to the old grape barber and with sweet gentle kisses he shares his heart with her again.
John, Helen’s father, watches as Don lifts his head from her embrace and looks lovingly at the flowers around them. The strong fragrance of floral perfume encases them in love and warmth. “Don is perfect. Perfect for my angel and perfect for my inheritance!!”
Walking over to his daughter John smiles and wraps her in a warm affectionate hug. The last few years had been hard. Scraping food together sometimes impossible but necessary. Feeding six daughters and a wife had been a struggle but with this new war, new work was abounding. The farm had saved them through the hard times. Now it was time to allow the farm to pass on a wonderful inheritance.
The rose belonged to Helen's Grandfather and when John got married the responsibility became his. The old rose had many stories to tell and many adventures yet to weave. Hardy though it was, it was also going to need plenty of love and nourishment as well.
John looks at Don solemnly and proudly states,, "First I gave you my daughter, now I am entrusting you with our family heritage." With those words firmly said he takes a shovel and digs up a small portion of the rose. He encases it in some fresh soil and lovingly waters it, before he hands it to the newlyweds.
Don and Helen took that rose clipping home. Laughing, Don remembers Helen’s argument with the landlord. The grumpy old codger was no match for his little spitfire. What she lacked in size she made up for in backbone and tenacity.
“What do you mean we can’t raise a rose in your apartment. Does a rose leave stains on your carpet like a dog or a cat? Does it bark and wake neighbors up in the middle of the night?”
“No, but it leaves water and mud on my floors.” Grumpy Jamison, the land lord states. All the while wondering what was happening to the quiet and meek woman who only spoke when spoken to?
Little did he know that Helen was anything but meek. “You let the tenants above us keep a cat. You let the tenants beside us have kids and a rabbit. I believe you will allow us to have a rose bush. Especially since you know we are the only couple capable of paying our rent on time. You know as well as we do that this apartment would stay empty if we left. People are struggling as it is to keep their heads above water, many can’t afford rent let alone food for the table. You don’t want good paying tenants to leave– do you? “
It was amazing how fast that poor fellow backed down when Helen's hairs were bristling. "I married one tough cookie!!" Don laughs looking adoringly at his wife. He thanked God for giving him such a strong woman.
Helen cared for the beautiful plant through the war. She nourished it through two young boys and helped Don move it several times around the country. During every move one of them would go out to the garden and remove just a small clipping from its ever prosperous vines. They fertilized it and wrapped it up securely, and each time they set foot on new soil, they planted it. Loving each new growth and cherishing each old memory because that rose was as much a part of them as it was a part of the earth it grew in.
Leaning on each other those happy memories still brings them much joy. Helen wraps her arm around her husband's waist, “You know, Gene and John are getting married soon, do you think it’s time to bestow the same special gift to them?” Don smiles and gently kisses his wife of 45 years, and nods in agreement. It was time to share a life time of family memories and history with their sons.
John 15:1-2 in the New King James version says: "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vine dresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit He takes away and every branch that bears fruit he prunes that it may bear more fruit."
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