Posts Tagged ‘gifts of passage’

We met a couple at one of our favorite Brew pubs this evening and I think they changed my life. Well, maybe. Kind of an exaggeration. I just needed a really good intro line – and did I get you? If I did, please bear with me, because this is important in the flow of life.

The brew pub we met at is about 12 miles out of our small suburb city, in a rural setting. This couple said they were from our neighborhood in our suburb city, which makes it a neighborhood thing. Trying to follow directions we discovered they live just five houses from us along two streets (city blocks do not apply here). I recognized their house by description immediately: the Rose Lady lives there.

I met her many years ago when I was walking Harvey and I even recall her inviting me into her house. She had (has) an amazing 6×6′ rose garden in the middle of her lawn and the day I met her, she was bitching about her grandson not coming along to mow the lawn as promised. I commiserated with her as she was obviously quite old and needed someone to take care of her yard for her: white haired, short, frail. I fell in love with her.

The next time I had any contact with a person at that address was at a yard sale where the granddaughter was selling thins – and she assured me that the Rose Lady was quite fine & healthy.

Fast forward to tonight and our conversation with a couple we just met at Bent Shovel Brewery and their confession that he is the grandson of said Rose Lady and they just moved in to take care of her 98-year old self. She’s still quite feisty and still gets around pretty well albeit with a walker.

Small world. I have prayed every time I have passed that house: “Please let the Rose Lady be healthy and loved”…

When I was 13 we moved to Ely, Nevada. I had a hard time making friends, but I had my trusty blue Hawthorne bicycle that I rode in figure eights in front of our house for hours. There was a tiny old Basque widow who lived two doors over from us: Mrs. Soforino. She grew roses in her front yard. Amazing roses. she would cut a bowl-sized bloom off of one of her roses, call me over, and hand me the rose.

“You give-a this to your mother, yes? Tell-a her she’s-a beautiful.”

More than once. Many times. I fell in love with Mrs. Soforino.

When I was a senior in high school, she died. I’d never been to the funeral of a person I knew but here was Mrs. Soforino’s funeral at the local Catholic church during the school day.

I’m not Catholic, but I had a best friend who was and had attended many masses. I figured I could do this for Mrs. Soforino for all the roses.. I skipped school. They held mass and then six men carried a beautiful gold  casket down to the alter and out of  the church. My nemesis, the vice-principal of my high school was one of the pall bearers.

I didn’t stop there. I had purchased a single red rose and I followed the funeral procession to the graveside burial where I handed the rose to the son of the dead woman and hugged him. We cried. His sister hugged me. The vice principal shook my hand and whispered that he was her great grandson and I had an excused absence for the day – no questions asked.

I never learned the Rose Lady’s name. She has long reminded me of Mrs. Soforino and I have prayed for her over the years. I felt a connection, you know? Hey, maybe you don’t know – but you should. The elderly – our Elders – are our heritage, be they relatives or not. I was fifteen when I fell in love with Mrs. Soforino. I couldn’t work in a senior home, but I can love seniors. They brig so much to our lives, related or not.

The Universe gave me an answer tonight” the Rose Lady is 98 and well taken care of. I’ve become acquainted with her grandson and his wife and they have promised me that I will be invited to her funeral whenever that should happen (hopefully not for another 5 years or so). They have pledged to take care of those roses out front.

If I told you they want to retire in the same small town in Eastern Oregon as we do, would that not also be amazing?

Yup. Same goals. Same old Rose Lady in common. The Universe is amazing. God is amazing.

Maybe Mrs. Soforino just sent me a Gift of Passage.

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