Thursday, June 19, 2008

Claire and the Dozen Roses

Chapter 1.

One spring morning, when Claire was five years old, I found her in the back yard holding a freshly picked rose, in the spot where the neighbors' flowers sometimes grow through our fence.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"Picking a dozen roses for mama," she replied. "For Mother's Day."

"Claire," I said, "That's a very sweet idea. But I'm afraid that only one rose grows on that bush every year. And you've picked it."

She frowned and thought about this for a few minutes, taking deep breaths and staring into the distance as she did.

"What if I wait?" she said.

"Wait for another rose to grow back?" I replied, guessing at what she was thinking.


"Well then you'd be waiting a long time. You'd have to stand in that spot for 11 more years to make a dozen."

Her eyes got farther away, her breathing deeper, as she contemplated this astounding fact.

Then she said, "Okay."

And that's how Claire ended up standing in the same spot - in the backyard, near where the neighbors' flowers sometimes grow through our fence - for 11 years, with supreme patience and thoughtfulness, gathering a new flower every year and adding it to her bouquet.

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