I haven’t forgotten. I never will.
There is a rose that used to grow in my garden that is no longer there. I didn’t cultivate this rose, I found him, already named and blooming in a sunny back yard in Carmichael, California, 4924 San Marque Circle. I cleared the space around him and gave him TLC. He flourished there for seven years. They were the Beginning Years.
I transplanted him into a beautiful garden in Fair Oaks. (We had moved because we needed more room for our children, 9113 La Serena Drive.) At night the lights of the town of Folsom sparkled below the garden bluffs. Seven wonderful years later he was transplanted again. We’d found our dream-come-true-home. These were the Hard Working Years.
This time it was a farm in Orangevale, 8834 Central Avenue. He lived with 65 other roses in a garden that surrounded a Valentine gift gazebo that had “I love you” scratched into the cement base. Just Joey once watched a wedding in that white wrought-iron gazebo. I had planted three attendant roses for that wedding “Love”, “Honor”, and “Cherish”. But Just Joey was the most beautiful, always. For sixteen Splendid Years he flourished.
Then sad circumstances caused me to leave that beautiful rose garden behind to other gardeners who promised to tend it with love. (But did not. The task, they said, was too overwhelming.) I gathered him up and took Just Joey with me. This time to a grand home, a magnificent last gift from my Beloved.
Behind a spectacular waterfall surrounded by pear trees in Folsom, at 113 Swift River Drive, he took root for a few years in my new garden under the dining room window. On summer days I could smell the beautiful fragrance that floated in and throughout our home. It was like listening to a symphony that became less and less audible. Then silence. He did not thrive. Each year of those Luxury and Pain Years he declined. No matter what I did. I consulted experts and took their advice. But he withered and was no more.
I did not want to live there without Just Joey, my heart continued to mourn while I lived where he once blossomed. So I gathered up my memories of Just Joey and planted them in a secret place, where only I can visit.