Life

The Forty-Niner Rose

There are two things you need to know up front: First, a Forty-Niner is a kind of rose. Second, the photo is of a rose that looks a lot like a Forty-Niner, but may be a different kind of rose.

Now you know.

It’s amazing how much some small detail will immediately take you back to your childhood.

I saw a bouquet of flowers someone at work had received the other day and I couldn’t help but notice one of the roses in it. It had a deep red color around the edges of the pedals and a vibrant gold and even streaks of pink inside the pedals.

I’m not certain that it was a Forty-Niner. I’m not a rose grower, so I would happily defer to the expertise of someone who might be.

The Forty-Niner — at least, that’s what I was told it was called — was a kind of rose that grew at my grandmother’s house when I was growing up. It wasn’t the only flower that was found along the fence separating her yard from that of her neighbor, the woman who had clearly smoked since about age 3 and had a voice that sounded like Lucille Ball with laryngitis.

But the Forty-Niner was the only rose that would grab my attention every time I saw it.

There was something incredible about the artistry of this simple rose. So much color, so much vibrant color in such a single blossom. I think maybe it spoke to a deep part of me that I was too young to understand, that there had to be something more “out there” somewhere that could create something so amazing. Maybe that was one of the early ways I saw a glimpse of God’s work in action.

My grandmother liked them, though she never cut them and brought them inside. I think she liked being able to see them on the rose bush.

It’s funny how something so simple, one little glimpse at something, can trigger such a vivid memory from so long ago.

Can you name an item you’ve seen recently that immediately took you back to your childhood? Was it a pleasant or unpleasant memory?

1 Comment

  1. When I was a kid, my brother and I had a plush Curious George (named Charlie Brown because it was a cheap knock-off of the American one by Knickerbocker Toys) which we loved and always took everywhere. We hugged it, we, punched it and kicked it, we opened it up with scissors and stuck magic markers inside it when it attracted “banana fever”. Our relatives would buy us a new plush monkey after the last one got too banged up. I think we had around five or six of them all tolled throughout our childhood.

    I recently managed to track down a used and somewhat smaller one. It look the same though, and it really brought back memories. I gave it to my little niece so that she could perhaps experience some of what we experienced.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 28 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.