Saturday, May 10, 2008


Our JohnRoses are in full bloom now. These roses are the small tea roses and they grow on a vine. These are pink, but I've seen them in red too. We call them JohnRoses because we got the vines from our old friend John Elliott. Jilda is a flower freak and she's not afraid to ask for cuttings when we visit friends. In fact she carries an Army entrenching tool in the trunk of her car for just such occasions. We were visiting John and his wife Linda in April of 1988 I think. We had only been in our house for a few years and the yard looked kind of mangy. We were in need of something that would spread and help cover the bare bank down near our mailbox.
It's a good thing I was in my truck because we dug up a passel of roses.
Every time I see these roses I think of John. We lost John during the great Alabama blizzard of 1993. He had been diagnosed with some kind of fast spreading cancer only a few weeks before. We knew his days were limited, but no one had a clue that he would slip away so fast.
John was one of those rare individuals that was bigger than life. He had the deep booming voice of a lawyer but he didn't practice law. His father was a U.S. Senator and his family were friends of John and Jackie Kennedy.
He had an old Martin guitar and he played the old songs. Bluegrass was his favorite music and it was rare for him to miss a bluegrass festival within driving distance.
We met John just after Jilda and I got married. We had been invited to a ranch party up above Jasper. The ranch parties were infamous. Almost every Saturday, sixty or seventy people showed up with truckloads of beer, fried chicken, corn on the cob, platters of hamburgers and hotdogs. And of course, everyone who could play brought guitars, banjos, mandolins, harmonicas and any other instrument they had. It was not uncommon for the music to go until morning.
On our first night at the ranch, John stormed into our lives on the back of a horse. That in itself is not that odd, but we were sitting in the living room of the ranch house. John ducked under the door frame and rode up to the couch and asked for a Budweiser. Jilda and I were freaked, but the crowd parted and someone handed him a beer as if it were a routine request.
I've got a lot of stories about John Elliott because he was a remarkable person and a great friend. I miss him, but on days like today when I step down to get the mail and the JohnRoses are showing out, I feel connected to our old friend.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please consider sharing

Email Signup Form

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required