Roses for Mother’s Day

        We used to have an old southern tradition I don’t see as much anymore.  On Mother’s Day, everyone wore a rose to church.  You wore red if your mom was living, and white if she was deceased.  Even as dumb little country boys, we understood enough to feel sad for the folks who wore the white roses.

        I had two brothers, and we got our roses the same place every year.  We had a rose bush in the back yard.  We thought it was a magic rose bush, ’cause as far as we knew no one ever watered it or tended to it.  At times we’d look at the roses as we played, but thought little of it till Mother’s Day.  Then we’d go out back, and sure enough there were roses a plenty.

        For me, those roses sorta represent the magic of motherhood.  Like grits for breakfast, you didn’t order ’em, they just show up.  I don’t know how they got there, but somehow they did.  It had to be magic.

        Me and tens of thousands of other Southern boys called their mama  today.  I call her at precisely 8:15, and she knows it is me before she picks up the phone.  I think moms know everything.

        I’m glad my rose was red today.  I wish I’d never have to wear a white one, but of course that day will come.  Until then, though, I’ll call every Mother’s Day at 8:15 sharp, and check on her on the other days too.  Moms are world class nurturers.  Even though moms are magic, we need to tend to them too, just like someone musta looked after those roses years ago.  There are few opportunities for magic in the mean adult world, and magic should never be taken for granted. 

Dr. B

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16 Comments on “Roses for Mother’s Day”

  1. pticester Says:

    We had the same tradition at our country church. Unfortunately, my rose would be white now.

  2. Cindy Carter Says:

    For me, it was my Grandmother. She was like a mother to my own mother and all of us kids. She taught us manners, how to climb trees, how to ride bikes, how to take care of those less fortunate than yourself and numbers of other things. I only wish I had known how really special she was before the good Lord called her home. I miss her everyday.

  3. drtombibey Says:


    I think as kids we don’t realize it at the time, but the fact we remember is a good indication we understood it intuitively.

    In other words, as a kid you knew but didn’t realize you knew.

    Your grandmother sounds like mine.

    Dr. B

  4. drtombibey Says:


    I am sorry you have a white rose. My wife has been through that, and it is still tough years later.

    It is unrelated to Mother’s Day white roses, but the great guitarist Doyle Dykes has a story and song about “A White Rose for Heidi” (his daughter). If you ever hear he is near your town, he is an artist I recommend VERY highly. (The heck with what I think- he was a favorite of Chet Atkins) Doyle tours as a tech rep for Taylor Guitar and has other gigs too.

    Dr. B

  5. amberfireinus Says:

    Dr. B.

    That was absolutely beautiful.

  6. drtombibey Says:


    I had my mom, and my phone call to her, on my mind when I wrote it.

    I thought of your situation after I posted it. I can tell from your writing you have tended to your mom the right way.

    Dr. B

  7. mrschili Says:

    We DO need to nurture the magic, don’t we? Nicely put, Doc.

  8. drtombibey Says:


    I know you are magic for your young’uns from your blog. They’ll never forget it unless there is some terrible turn in their life, which I pray never happens.

    Dr. B

  9. pandemonic Says:

    How nice! I’m glad your rose is still red too. Mine would have been white, and that’s sad.

  10. drtombibey Says:

    Well it is sad Pande. I don’t know exactly what heaven is, but in bluegrass we all talk about meeting on the other side, and I believe we do, but I don’t know exactly how.

    I have been told in heaven I can lay down my stethescope, ’cause it won’t be needed. (No sickness there) If I’ll stick with the doctor gig on earth, my reward will be to be a world class mandolin player for eternity. (I ain’t that good here.)

    Dr. B

  11. susan Says:

    Dr. T,
    I tell my kids, “No matter how old you are, home is where your mama is.” My home’s been in heaven for a while now.
    We wore roses to church when we were kids, too.
    Whether we’re talking my mama, Grandmother or Grandma, all my roses changed to white the same year.

  12. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Susan,

    You are exactly right- if I were blindfolded and led back to the old homeplace I’d know I was there from that peculiar familar smell.

    What a tough year that must have been. I can’t imagine.

    Dr. B

  13. We had the same tradition as well. This year I didn’t have a real rose to wear so I had my daughter draw one, color it red and I pinned it to my white dress shirt. Everyone thought that the choir director had gone crazy, but when I looked out at the congregation during my opening hymn I saw something that made it all worth while. Sitting 5 rows back from the front, on the pew that I sit in after leading the worship service, was my dear sweet mother. She had skipped going to her own church and made a surprise appearance at mine. I had to fight back tears the entire service. I loath the day when I will have to wear that white one…

  14. drtombibey Says:

    Byron, I am the same way. When the guys get wounded on the battlefield they call for mom.

    When I was a kid and had the stomach bug, my mom gave me Co-Cola and peppermint candy. Now I am an old Doc, but that is what I still reach for when I come down with the virus.

    Dr. B

  15. lyn o'carroll Says:

    I love your post. It made me think of a good old Baptist song that I have unfortunately heard too often. ” When time shall come for my leaving, When I bid you adieu; Don’t spend your money for flowers, Just a rose will do. Just have an old fashioned preacher . Preach a sermon so true; I’ll need no beautiful flowers, Just a rose will do. I’ll need no organization, Just to make a “to do,” I’ll need no bright decorations, Just a rose will do. I’ll go to a beautiful garden, At last when life’s work is thru; Don’t spend your money on flowers, Just a rose will do. ” Keeping calling your sweet Mom and your oh so special Dad.

  16. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Lyn,

    I like one too, and also remember Lester Flatt’s tune about bring me the flowers while I’m living.

    Lyn has worked along side ole Dr. B many years, and is a great nurse and mom both.

    Dr. B

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