Monday, May 30, 2011


by Jo Robertson

About ten years ago on Fathers Day our seven children picked out individual rose bushes and planted them in a row by the fence in our back yard. At the time my youngest son had distanced himself from the family so the spot for his bush remained empty, a sad reminder that one of the seven was missing.

Recently that son returned, bought a lovely white rose bush with a blush of pink on the petals, dug a hole and planted the flowers near the other six.

Thomas Wolfe said, "You can't go home again," but I'm not sure that's true. I think, as Robert Frost claimed, "Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in."

We live in a complicated world where daily stress and dangerous lures trap many people. It seems fitting on this U.S. Memorial Day, when we traditionally honor those who've died in the service of country, that we also honor those who've traveled hard roads, made difficult journeys, and have returned to their haven of safety.

Whether from war, a troubled marriage, college, incarceration or disenfranchisement, let's welcome home all those who are "going home."

If you could memorialize one person, someone who's meant a lot to you, given you something precious, or influenced your life in some way, who would you choose and why?


Barbara E. said...

I would choose to memorialize my mother, because she gave me life, was always there for me, helped me raise my son, and loved me unconditionally. I miss her every day.

Anna Campbell said...

Barbara, what a lovely tribute to your mother.

Jo, I loved your post. My mother loved roses and planted some bushes when she came up here - even though this really isn't a great environment for roses. I remember on the farm we had two huge beds of rosebushes and we used to cut them literally by the bucketful. Those roses are about the only plants in my garden that get any real attention because whenever I look at them, I remember my wonderful mother.

Mary Preston said...

I am most fortunate that the people I would choose are still with me. God bless them!!

Helen said...

Well done Barbare E have fun with him

What a lovely post and I too would choose my Mum there is not a day goes past that I do not think of her. She was always a very strong person and said what she thought and she was tough but fair as well, and then there is my Dad as well a real softy and gentleman was my Dad easy to get along with and always had a smile on his face.
Miss them both heaps but always think of them

Have Fun

Unknown said...

have a good time Barbara E

Good blog Jo, I like the others would pick my Mum.....I think she did a great job with us as she was left a widow with 3 babies and bought us up on her own....she has been gone now over 40 years and never saw her grandchildren but I still think of her..

Susan Sey said...

Jo, this is a beautiful post. I'm so glad you have seven rose bushes now. That empty place must've been hard to see every day.

If I could memorialize somebody in my life, I think it would have to be my Grandma Crookes, my mom's mom. She outlived two of her children, and then her husband, and but remained a fierce mother and defender of her family. She never learned to drive but would sit in my front seat, white-knuckling her wicker purse, shaking her fist at any driver she felt didn't respect my space. I adored her & wish she had met my kids.

Deb said...

I choose my mother Sharon. She is a wonderful woman, full of grace, love of family, and strong in her faith in God. She has always been positive about everything. She has been a fighter the last several years through many illnesses and has come out strong in spirit as well as in physical strength. She now has a different battle to fight, but she doesn't really let on how tough it is to my two sisters and me. My dad is in the beginning stages of dementia and I know she is sometimes mentally drained.

I have given my daughter her name---Shary. I love them both very much and that is my living memorial to my mother.

jo robertson said...

Hi, Barbara, congrats on getting the rooster this morning. What are you planning to do with him today?

Beautiful words about your mother, Barbara. My mom's been gone nearly 12 years and I, too, miss her all the time. Sometimes I forget she's gone and pick up the phone to call her. And then I remember.

jo robertson said...

Anna, what a sweet comment about your mother and her love of roses.

I live in a community where roses grow nearly wild and it's common to see them in every front yard in the neighborhood.

jo robertson said...

Marybelle, how fortunate you are!

jo robertson said...

Helen, I get a giggle on every time I see your avatar and those sweet grandkids of yours. Our Emma is 2 1/2 now and really making her presence known! She's got Pops wrapped around her little finger. The other day I told her no about something and she went down the hall yelling, "Pops, Pops, help me." Little stinker.

Helen, you are so lucky. Your parents sound like wonderful people!

jo robertson said...

Barb, what an admirable woman your mother must have been to rear three children all on her own.

jo robertson said...

Ah, Susan, your Grandma Crookes sounds like a hoot and a half. It's too bad she never had the pleasure of enjoying your children.

And yes, it's wonderful to have all seven of our rose bushes now!

shannon said...

oh mom. I didn't know he did that with the rose bush. I am touched. I was touched as well by the "home" quote. I would add that "home" isn't even a place... it's the embodiment of the people who love you unconditionally and, yes, must always take you in, even if "taking in" is figurative for accepting your weaknesses and mistakes and loving you and supporting you nonetheless.

I would choose to memorialize YOU mom. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. You are amazing and strong and funny and warm and smart and talented and inspire me and lift me and support me in everything I do. You are my biggest cheerleader and always have been and I hope I am showing you that I am yours as well. Happy Memorial Day! :) I love you.

jo robertson said...

Oh, Deb, I'm so sorry about your father. Your mother sounds not only like a very strong woman, but one who remains optimistic during trials. God bless her!

Pops said...

As your husband, I share in the emotion of what your remarks really mean. After thinking you have raised your seven children and can now get out of their lives you find out that unconditional love can bring some back home. Families may not be "forever" but they are for life! Love, Boyd

jo robertson said...

What a wonderful (and undeserved) honor, Shannon. Thank you. I love your definition of "going home" and the idea that we love those we love unconditionally.

Thanks, my perky little cheerleader!

jo robertson said...

So true, Pops, moms and dads are moms and dads for the duration LOL!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Morning Jo-Mama and Everyone!

Yes, Shannon, I think the same thing of the Frost quote as you: Taking you in means accepting you, flaws, short-comings and all.

I would definitely memorialize my Grandma (and I think I have in many ways). She was a tiny little woman (not even 5 feet tall) but what a fighter! And she gave so much unconditional love and kindness, I can only hope to be half as worthy as she was. Same for my Mom, whom I lost 12 years ago last Saturday. A fighter and fierce protector of all those she loved. EVERYBODY loved her!

Okay, I'm getting misty eyes so must stop. Thanx for the moving post, Jo.

Barbara E. I'm afraid you'll find lots of flaws and short-comings in the GR, but try to give him a bit o' love anyway! ;-)


jo robertson said...

Wonderful comments about your mother and grandmother, AC. And welcome back from your Mexico trip. I'll bet you had much nicer weather there than we had here in northern CA. Rain, rain, everywhere, and not good for the crops at all. Enough already!

Nancy said...

Barbara, congratulations on the rooster!

Jo, the ritual with rose bushes sounds lovely. I'm glad your youngest eventually came on board with it and that he came home.

On Memorial Day, I think of my father, a WWII veteran and POW, my mom, who was a WAVE, and the young men from my home town whose names are on the Vietnam memorial wall.

Louisa Cornell said...

Have fun with the GR, Barbara!

Jo, what a wonderful post! I am a huge fan of roses so I can really appreciate the beauty of those seven rose bushes reminding you of the beauty you and your hubby have created.

It would tough for me to separate my Mom from my Dad in memorializing someone who has done the most for me.

We lost Dad twelve years ago and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't miss him. I was Daddy's girl from the moment I was born and he never let me forget it. He taught me to believe in myself and to believe I could do anything I set my mind to. And he showed me every day what a real romantic hero was in the way he treated my Mom.

My Mom has given me tough love when I needed it, unswerving belief in my talents, unfaltering pride in my accomplishments and a model of a tough, principled woman who lives her faith every day in everything she does. (And she gave me my love of roses!)

jo robertson said...

Louisa, your parents sound like wonderful people. How fortunate you are to have those lovely memories of them and the examples they set for you.

jo robertson said...

I knew your father was a World War II vet, Nancy (mine was too), but I didn't realize he was a POW. Where?

Pat Cochran said...

I could never select just one person.
There's my parents, Honey's parents,
our grandparents, children, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, the entire
family! We have had uncles, cousins,
brothers, nephews, and a niece in
every conflict from W.W.II to today.
We thank God that they all came home
safely! This group is closest to
being memorialized by me! God bless
them and God bless America!

jo robertson said...

Pat, you have an entire village to memorialize! Congratulations, sounds like you have a wonderful extended family.