The Last Rose Of Summer.


From my Gran, Sheila Ross-Kuhn:

Yesterday we were traveling. We were in the mountains when we decided to get off of an exit in Beaver Creek, WV to have a cup of coffee and a biscuit for breakfast. The sign told us that the McDonald’s was 1.5 miles after a right turn off of the interstate ramp.We made the turn and found ourselves winding down a country road that looked like we were headed to someones barn, about half way down the hill, a state trooper sat hidden like a snake in the grass, ready to nab himself a hungry traveler, thankfully, we were within the speed limit. When we got to overcrowded McDonald’s at the bottom of the hill, we quickly realized that everyone in Beaver Creek had a similar idea for their Sunday breakfast plans. We sat in line for a long time, we chatted and talked to the three little old dogs we had taken along, they were interested in a little breakfast as well, these guys are well-traveled and can smell a drive through from the Interstate. Time rolled on, cars were not moving.

There was a gray-bearded man in a small red truck in front of us, a hugely happy Golden Retriever’s smiling head filled and escaped his open drivers side window. We sat some more, no car moved, the time for breakfast was passing, the mans dog sat on the passenger’s side for a time and then came across and stuck his big happy head out once again to check out the situation. Finally, the cars began to move slowly, but we were still far from to the front of the line. Out of the blue, the man with the gray beard opened the door of the small red truck, the doors hardware must have been rusted for it made a loud sound, which grabbed our attention hastily. He began to run toward the drive through window. we looked at one another nervously, neither of us saying a word, but both of us visualizing him shooting up the place, it had been a long wait, perhaps he had flipped out or something. You never know what is going on in the mind of who is driving the car in front of you. Who was this mad man with the rusty door and the happy dog?

He was wearing a dirty work coat, heavy work boots, the type of clothing that a laborer getting of off midnight shift in a mine or a plant might wear, his beard was a tad scraggly. The happy dog was sitting very calmly in the passenger side, even though the door was wide open, the motor was running. Time froze. Our mouths were open, I was clutching one little dog, my husband had another in his arms, one, the feisty one, was quarreling like a restless child from the back seat. The wild man ran on and came to a screeching halt right beside of the drive through window, his arms and legs stopped dead as he gracefully reached one large hand up to ever so delicately pluck a single perfect red rose from a weathered and fast fading rose-bush nestled in the landscaping. He tenderly and carefully plucked the last lovely rose of Summer from the prickly bush, and then ran swiftly back to his red truck and happy dog. He slid in to the seat of that truck with the smile of a mischievous child on is face. The big gentle red dog met him with a wagging tail. He slammed the door with a force that jarred my teeth. My husband and I looked at one another and smiled. I asked my husband to take a photo of the women handing his food out of the drive through window. We drove another hour and a half speculating about who the rose was for, a girl friend, a woman he barely knew at the grocery store, a wife, a daughter, a male lover, his mother, so many possibilities…. and how he might present the last rose of summer to that special someone.

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