I like roses. I like them a lot. I do not remember cut roses or even rose bushes around my house growing up. As I got older, I realized why.

When I was younger my mother would splurge on this lotion called Rose Milk. I thought it was the Most Fancy, Best Smelling lotion ever. Trader Joe’s makes a similar scented lotion around February. I found it two years ago and it almost made me cry as it smelled like my mom when she wanted to be fancy.

Lotion from the 1970s?

My father hated roses. Hated any plant with a thorn or sticker on it. The house I am living in now had a rose bush when I moved in. I had no idea how to care for it, so I asked him as he was a Master Gardner in two states. He told me to dig it up and that he doesn’t give advice on anything with thorns.  I did end up killing it, even with all the love I gave it.

Matt and I, Tralee Town Park, 2011

When we visited Ireland our first stop was in the village of Tralee. I had picked it for no other reason than it was close to the Cliffs and not so far to drive the first day after we landed. As it was, we were so exhausted we got there, had tea at the B&B and went to walk to town to find dinner. Refreshed from pints and fish/chips. We walked into town proper and discovered the town park and rose garden.

We just wandered around and looked at the roses. Marveled in the color and smell and peacefulness of the whole area. We later found out that it was home to over 35 varieties of roses and covered over three acres. There is a statue that people put a rose in their hands and a memorial plaque from Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy that I liked the quote so much I made sure to take a picture so I could remember it. I think of that diamond in the rough we found by chance often; it was just what I needed.

statue commemorating Mary O’Connor sculpted by Jeanne Rynhart

“I find it interesting to reflect on what has made my life, even with its moments of pain, an essentially happy one. I have come to the conclusion that the most important element in human life is faith.” – Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy.

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