Daddy never had very much money, but he was a most generous giver nonetheless.
When he was first courting Momma, Sundays were their regular date days. Daddy would go to Momma’s house right after church, eat the Sunday meal with her family, and then spend the day with her.
As the story goes, on his walk over to the Wiggins’ home, still in his Sunday suit, Daddy would reach over into some unnamed old woman’s garden and break off a single rose.
He’d snap the thorns away and slide the stem into his lapel.
After dinner and some time on the porch with the folks drinking iced tea in aluminum cups, Daddy would request some time alone with his love and invite Momma to take a walk. Maw-Maw Bess thought the sun rose and set on Daddy, so we can only assume Paw-Paw’s consent for he never had a chance to reply; Maw-Maw said yes before he could even open his mouth.
As Hope and Don strolled through Tipton’s quiet Sunday-afternoon streets, Daddy entertained her with silly antics and corny jokes. Then, as some point, he would pluck the rose from his lapel as if it was nothing more than an afterthought, and say, “Oh, looky here – you want this?” Momma giggled and pinned the rose into her hair.
Years later Momma told me she always knew the roses were intended for her even though Daddy tried to make it look like coincidental happenstance.
I witnessed many other similar, “oh-by-the-way-this-is-for-you” kinds of gifts from Daddy to Momma during my years with them. From drug store cards and chocolate bars to the finest jewelry Daddy’s money could buy, he was always thinking of her and always striving to gain her precious giggles.
We will never know how many roses were stolen from the old woman’s garden for they were never dried and pressed between the pages of book, but the number is insignificant. What remains today is the lingering spirit of Daddy’s generosity and its impact on shaping Momma’s life. Momma still giggles when she thinks of her love and roses sill make her eyes twinkle like fairytale stars.