When I was a little girl, my father used to surprise me with roses. Most of the gardening my father did was of a practical nature: cucumber and tomato plants, the occasional “karpouzi” (watermelon) if the raccoons didn’t get to it first (they always got to it first). He had grown up on a farm in Greece, and gardening was not a hobby so much as a way of life and a means toward putting food on the table. There were very few flowers in our garden in New Jersey.
In our backyard, there was a tattered fence that separated our yard from a little brook. It was here that he planted roses. In the spring, the thorny bushes climbed up the fence in a tangled mess. Then one summer morning, while I was still asleep, they bloomed pink, yellow, white, and red, opening their petals up to the blue, blue sky. My father would cut these beautiful roses and present them to me. He told me I was a delicate flower.
I’ve been swirling in these memories of my father out in the garden, as I’ve been writing my memoir.