Tag Archives: blog

Nannie’s Roses

Nannie would do it here, I think.

“Snip”

And probably right here.

“Snip”

This one could use it too.

“Snip”

With new clippers in hand I trimmed spent flower stems from sad looking rose bushes in the backyard. These were nothing like the ones my grandmother used to grow. When I was a child Nannie had dozens of healthy rose bushes vibrantly blooming in the yard around her farmhouse. I don’t think she had purchased a single one of them.

Some may have been given to her by friends, but most she had rooted herself. Usually people admire the gift of a flower arrangement for days until the flowers fade and are thrown away. Not Nannie. Almost upon arrival, flower arrangements of any kind and especially those containing roses were dismantled, clipped, stripped, dipped in rooting powder and plugged into her rooting bed. Some months later and voila! One more rose bush for her yard or to give to someone “down at church”.

As a child it seemed a miracle to me that short thorny sticks with a few wilted leaves could become anything at all. I said so to Nannie, remarking that I thought it a miracle and asking how she could be sure they would grow. She agreed it was a miracle and said she was never sure they would grow; she had faith they would grow.

Nannie’s faith was the backbone of her existence. I’ve never known a more faithful Christian than my grandmother. She didn’t preach about what should be done, she shared her faith showing what could be done. A true teacher by example. Oh sure, she often asked why I hadn’t been in Sunday School the week before, or said if I went to church the next Sunday she’d sit with me, and other guiding comments any grandmother would make but she had a way of weaving her suggestions and lessons into everyday conversations. We had many good and deep conversations while working in her rose beds, most of them about the importance faith and family played in her life.

I’ve never claimed to be a good Christian. Actually she never made that claim about herself either, being a modest woman, but to everyone else she certainly was. All who met her were struck by the love she had for her family and her endless solid faith in God.

Nannie died twenty five years ago. Only twice in my life have I attempted poetry and both pieces were written about her shortly after her death. I reread this poem after all these years and had to smile. Economy of words has never been my forte when writing but I had to get it out, I suppose. With few alterations I’ve included it below.

I’m solid in my own beliefs and thankful that a remarkable woman, who happened to be my own grandmother, was there to guide me in such a way that I learned early on about the power of faith and importance of family. But this poem isn’t about me and my beliefs or love of family as much as it is about Nannie and my respect for the lifelong commitment she showed to hers.

 

 

Nannie’s Roses

 

I loved helping Nannie

With her roses. One day

She tried telling me something

That went sort of this way:

 

“I like watching things bloom,

Not just flowers, you know.

With the right sort of touch

You make anything grow”.

 

People and roses,

She told me that day,

Both need some training

To grow the right way.

 

“Sometimes they ramble

To grow where they could,

But it’s for me to see

That they grow where they should”.

 

And I knew she meant us

For as everyone knows,

Each one in her family

She considered a rose.

 

She rooted us strongly.

We were tended and groomed.

Then she’d smile as she waited,

She knew we would bloom.

 

She said “Family and roses

Were trained by my hand.

The old ones grew tall

And learned how to stand.

 

My younger ones now

Are not quite so tame.

Their blooms may be different

But I love them the same.

 

And I know with some work

And the help of my hands

They’ll grow as the others

And with them they’ll stand”.

 

“But these older ones now,

Still need help today?”

I asked and she said,

“No I’ve shown them the way.

 

I’ve given them love

And plenty of room.

They’re on their own now

To grow and to bloom.

 

For both family and roses

There does come the time

To depend on their own strength

And let go of mine.”

 

Now we and the roses,

Alone we all stand.

Sadly she’s gone

With her strong guiding hand.

 

Each a rose in her garden,

We were guided with love.

Now she’s watching us bloom

From somewhere above.

 

As we bloomed in her garden,

We’re all sure somehow,

That she’s a rose blooming

In His garden now.

 

Stuart M. Perkins

Advertisements

120 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Virginia Living

Just a little announcement:

I’m excited to let you know I have a piece appearing in the February issue of Virginia Living!

It was a thrill to work with the kind folks at the magazine and as a native Virginian, like my parents and theirs before them, it was especially fun to contribute to a publication I’ve had in my own home over the years.

While Virginia Living has a fantastic website, I understand the content is not identical to the magazine which is on shelves already in some larger bookstores. If you’re able to pick up a copy please check out my piece titled “The Best Day” in their back page “Departure” column.

Thanks to all those who’ve asked what I’ve been up to lately. Blogging continues to be fun and has proven to be an exciting pathway to some great opportunities.

Happy New Year!

Stuart M. Perkins

125 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

On The Radio… update!

What fun I had last Friday speaking with Annette Rochelle Aben as her guest on Tell Me a Story, a presentation of The Magic Happens Radio Network!

I appreciated the opportunity to talk about my blog, my family, and the story I contributed to the latest book in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Volunteering and Giving Back. I was especially happy to talk more about Nannie, my grandmother, and what a powerful influence she was on me and anyone she ever met.

So many kind comments came after the interview and I appreciate those more than you know. To say I was nervous is an understatement, but Annette’s professional and laid back style enabled me to take a breath and get on with what I wanted to say!

Some who missed the live radio show have asked for the archived link, so I’m attaching that here:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/themagichappens/2015/08/28/storyshucker-stu-perkins-on-tell-me-a-story

Thanks again for reading, listening, and the constant encouragement.

Stuart M. Perkins

Original blog post announcing the interview:

I may be more comfortable writing than talking but talking I will do… this Friday, August 28th at 1:30 p.m. EDT when I join Annette Rochelle Aben as her guest on Tell Me a Story, a presentation of The Magic Happens Radio Network!

We’ll likely discuss a little about my blog and a story of mine included in the latest Chicken Soup for the Soul: Volunteering and Giving Back, then move on to something less interesting…me.

Below is the description provided for Friday’s show along necessary links to join in on the fun.

I hope you’ll log in and listen!

Stuart M. Perkins

Storyshucker Stu Perkins on Tell Me a Story – no need to pinch yourself, it is actually happening  Friday, August 28th. We have tried a couple of times but the 3rd time has indeed been the charm for us here at The Magic Happens Radio Network. Visiting Stu’s blog, Storyshucker, and reading his tales is like taking a step back in time to when people took priority over popularity and family was the ‘inter-net’ where you learned everything.

Oh, and that blog address is http://www.storyshucker.wordpress.com/ so be sure to head over and catch up the archives and see what heart-warming story has been shucked of late.

Also, keep an eye open for a brand new Chicken Soup for the Soul: Volunteering and Giving Back, because Stu Perkins is one the contributing writers. We cover this and more in Friday’s Tell Me a Story, a presentation of The Magic Happens Radio Network. Find us at:

http://www.themagichappens.com/

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/themagichappens/2015/08/28/storyshucker-stu-perkins-on-tell-me-a-story

41 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Try Writing

“Thousands of people who write believe they are better than thousands of others. They believe they will pen the next great American novel but their writing is dull and full of grammatical errors. Why do they write anything intended to be read by the public? Why do they write?”

I read those lines and was impelled to respond. The blogger’s entire post was arrogant and sarcastic, but those lines were the cherries on top. After I acknowledged that he can post what he likes on his own blog, I then asked if rather than squelch ambitions with a negative message about imperfection, he could instead applaud people for their attempts, for our attempts because I am one of the imperfect. But, we still try.

I don’t necessarily like being serious because, well, it’s not funny. I love a little arrogance and sarcasm as much as anyone, maybe more than anyone, but his post was nasty at its core, humorless and discouraging.

For me, playing with words to form sentences in an attempt to evoke anything from laughter to sadness in a reader is “magical”, and I rarely use that word. Writing is simply another way to make thoughts available to a reader. I don’t believe I will pen the next great American novel, “dull” writing is subjective, and I am certain I end up with grammatical errors in my writing. But, I still try.

I started blogging less than a year ago and up to that point had hardly read one, much less considered writing one. With encouragement from a good friend, I gave it a start. As an adult I’ve never taken a writing class and in high school English I was at best mediocre. So why do I write? Because I want to. That should be answer enough for the judgmental blogger.

When I have thoughts to express, nothing stops the freight train of desire to write them down. I imagine everyone who writes experiences the same at their own levels. If one’s writing could use some pep or have the grammar refined a bit, those things can be remedied. Writers can learn to amp up their styles and they can become more familiar with grammatical rules. Those things can be learned. What can’t be taught is desire. People who need to write come pre-loaded with the desire to try. And so we write.

I sent my comments to the blogger expecting to hear nothing back really. I simply felt the need to counter a little of his discouragement. That freight train of desire to write my response just couldn’t be stopped! In less than an hour he replied. I hesitated for a second to read what he’d written, but the optimist in me thought why not, it could be he’s given some of his overly critical attitude a second thought! I clicked on his response and read the one line from him:

“Your comments contained two grammatical errors.”

He didn’t even tell me what they were!

It didn’t really matter that he’d paid no attention to the point I’d hoped to get across.

But, I tried.

Stuart M. Perkins

268 Comments

Filed under blog, blogger, blogging, writing