Momma Liked The Roses (by BluewindFarm)

Summary: Readers can thank Elvis Presley for inspiring this story.

When the pain and the hurt are still fresh, can a memory shine bright?

Rating:  K  (1,125 words)

 

Mama Liked The Roses

A bright blue sky greeted Ben Cartwright as he exited his home. Stepping to the wooden front porch, coffee cup in hand, he welcomed the promise of this new day. For too long, depressing gray skies had hung over the Ponderosa. Inhaling the fragrance of the budding roses, memories swept over him.

*****

Returning from a long day working the cattle herds on their ever-expanding land, a dust-coated and sweaty Ben handed Buck to the ranch hand who greeted him in front of the barn.

“Long day Mr. Cartwright?” asked the grizzled old man, posture stooped and walking with bowed legs.

“You can say that.” Ben sighed; stretching his back before striding across the hard-packed ground to the front porch entrance of his home.

The sun had dropped behind the western mountain range, yet the sky still held a faint hint of blue /gray that occurred before turning black.

Closing the heavy door behind him, he stopped at the sideboard long enough to divest himself of his gun belt and hat before acknowledging the ‘shhhh’ coming from farther inside the great room. Eyebrows arched at seeing Hop Sing sitting in the chair his sons proclaimed as Ben’s; a small boy with curly brown hair asleep in his lap.

“Long day fo numba twee son,” Hop Sing spoke in stilted English, arms wrapped around his charge.

Ben reached forward to take his youngest son. “I’m sorry if he caused any trouble.”

Shaking his head, “Lit’le Joe no cause twouble. No, fatha have other duty.”

Looking around, Ben queried, “Where’s Hoss? Is he upstairs?”

“Hop Sing think he go see Missy Cartwright. Boys have difficult day.”

“Will you keep my supper warm?”

Hop Sing nodded.

With his own heart still grieving, he understood. Placing a hand on the mop of his son’s head, “I love you Little Joe.”

*****

From where he sat on his eldest son’s horse, Beauty, Ben barely discerned Hoss’ form in the dark of the landing at Marie’s grave site. Closer, he saw his son wipe a sleeve across his face.

“Hoss?” Ben dismounted, dropping the reins.

“Pa?” Hoss stood. Looking to his feet, “I’m sorry if’n I worried ya. I know I shoulda been home.”

Ben watched his eleven-year old son walk across the needle-strewn land, “Hop Sing told me where you were.” Using his right hand he lifted the boy’s chin. “I take it you had a bad day?”

“You can say that.” Teary eyes looked up.

“Would you like to talk about your day?” Ben lowered his hand.

“No sir, I think we best get back home, ‘fore Little Joe gets to cryin’ again.”

A hand to the shoulder prevented his son from walking past. “I think Joseph will be fine with Hop Sing. He was sleeping when I left.”

“We don’t have to talk, Pa.”

Ben led his son back to Marie’s grave and sat down. “Hoss, please son. Have a seat.”

Making himself as comfortable as possible, Hoss sat and fiddled with the pine needles. “I don’t wanna make ya sad Pa.”

“Are you afraid I’ll go away again?”

Hoss shrugged his shoulders, not daring to look up.

“Talk to me son.” Ben reached over, taking Hoss’ hand in his. “I promise you, I won’t leave you. Not like I did. I might have to leave for business on occasion, but you’ll know where I am at all times.”

Ben waited. He regretted how his misery had driven him away, leaving all three of his sons to manage their grief by themselves. Trust was re-established before Adam had left for college; at his age he could accept the why of Ben’s absence. Only time would tell if love would overcome the hurt he’d inflicted on his youngest boys during the two months he’d been gone.

“It’s not the same is it?” Hoss looked to the tombstone; unable to prevent the tears, his breath hitched.

“No, it’s not.” Using a thumb, he wiped away the tears streaming down Hoss’ face. “She’ll always be with us. Your mother will always be in our hearts.”

“That’s what Adam said.”

“And you’re missing Adam too, aren’t you?” Ben pulled Hoss to lean into him, wrapping an arm around his shoulders.

“Yes sir. Sometimes,” Hoss raggedly inhaled, fighting his mourning. “Sometimes it feels like he’s died too, only there ain’t no grave to visit.”

“I guess I can see how it would feel that way. But you know, Adam left to fulfill his dream of continuing his education. He’ll be back.”

“I know that, but he’s always been here for me.” Hoss sniffled, wiping his sleeve under his nose to stop it from running. “I just wish I could feel like I did before Mama died.”

Father and son sat quietly, allowing the sound of the lapping water to sooth their sorrow.

“Sometimes I wish the same thing,” Ben whispered.

“Huh? You do?”

“Son, it’s easy to think of all we’ve lost; and that’s why I went away. But I came back. Do you know why?” Standing up, Ben motioned for Hoss to accompany him to the water’s edge, the moon reflected bright across the water. The image shimmered as the small waves danced over the shoreline.

“Because ya missed us?”

“Yes, I did miss the three of you. But I also realized that my dream was still alive. My sons were at home waiting for me. You, Adam, and Little Joe help lessen the grief. You’re the bright spots in my life.”

“Well…” Hoss picked up a flat pebble and threw it across the water, skipping three times before disappearing below the surface. “I don’t wanna forget Mama, and…” Hoss smiled as a memory brightened his face, “Mama liked the roses.”

“That she did. She always loved fresh cut roses.” Mirroring his middle son, Ben reached down and picked up a pebble. Hoss giggled when the stone skipped five times before sinking.

“You think we could plant a rose bush so we can remember her?” Hoss asked, taking Ben’s hand before he headed to where Beauty patiently waited next to his horse Cocoa.

“I think that would be a wonderful way to remember your Mama.” Ben climbed into the saddle first, reaching down he pulled Hoss to sit behind him.

 “Pa, can I go to the tradin’ post with ya some time and order a rose bush for Mama?”

“I think we can. Why don’t we take Joe and make it a family affair; I think Hop Sing would enjoy having help loading the supplies.”

Taking the pony’s reins in hand and turning for home, Ben felt his son waving and heard, “Bye Mama, we’re gonna plant roses as beautiful as you.”

*****

“Yes Hoss, you were right. The roses are a beautiful reflection of Marie.  But now they’ll be a reminder of your beautiful soul.” Rocking in the chair, tears streamed down Ben’s face. “Oh how I miss you both.”

 

~The End.

 

Please forgive me for not including the Series in the Summary, I didn’t want to give away the ending of the story.  I hope you’ll forgive me.

Author’s Note:    And I’ve Got Mine…was the first story written, followed by Momma Liked the Roses, and What We Didn’t Choose, and lastly, Always in what has become known as my Remembering Hoss Series.  The Series is listed in chronological order.

Remembering Hoss Series:

Always
And I’ve Got Mine… (Until the Pain’s a Cloud of Dust)
What We Didn’t Choose
Momma Liked the Roses

End Note:  Mama Liked the Roses, recorded by Elvis Presley, composed by John L. Christopher.

Author’s note:  I don’t remember if it was canon or fan fiction that claimed Marie planted the rose trellis on the front porch.  If it was canon, please forgive this variation on how the roses came to be,  this is how my muse was inspired after hearing Elvis singing.

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28 thoughts on “Momma Liked The Roses (by BluewindFarm)”

  1. You!! 😠 Oh, it’s you. And Hoss. (I blame you and Hoss together.) And now I’m going to have to go Post again on that ‘Stories that made me cry’ thread … *sigh*

    A beautiful story (as usual), dealing with memories and loss and how they intertwine. I also loved the image of Hop Sing cuddling with little Little Joe — as we know he must have when they were little. Thanks so much for writing.

    1. PSW, oh yeah, I’ve written a few tear jerkers, haven’t I. I won’t apologize, because I like the company. Thank you for taking the time to reading and for leaving a comment.

  2. This was sooo sweet! I happen to be a huge fan of Elvis, and Mama Liked the Roses has always been a favourite of mine, and so the title caught my eye. Such a sweet song song, perfect for a story like this one. Thanks for sharing!

    1. LJC, I’m glad the title drew you into read my story. Thank you for letting me know how much you enjoyed this.

  3. What a sweet story. I too have thought that Adam leaving shortly after Marie’s death must have been an incredible loss for Hoss. Count on him to come up with a solution to his grief though…and earthy solution that would connect Marie to the Ponderosa. He would see her remembrance come to life each spring and fill their lives with color and freshness just as she had done in the years she’d been with them.
    It’s interesting where we find our story ideas. I too have based a number of them on the words of a song. It can be just a set of words within a song, or the idea conveyed in the total piece that will spark an idea that turns into a plot line and finally written words. Thanks for a lovely remembrance.

    1. Your response is making me tear up all over again. Thank you for taking the time to read and to leave such a thought provoking comment.

  4. Such a sensitive portrayal of how the emotional connections we give to certain objects or events changes as we change! This must have been just one of many things that took on new meaning for the remaining Cartwrights at this time–and now it has done so for me as well. Beautifully done…thank you.

    1. JA, thank you for taking the time to read and to leave a comment. As for what really happened, what happened before the one scene in Forever, we can only imagine…

  5. Very touching with a killer gut punch at the end as you reveal exactly when Ben is having this reverie. Well done, BWF!

    1. Oh yeah, and now you know why I was bawling my eyes out.

      Puchi Ann, thank you for reading and taking a moment to leave a comment.

    1. Cheaux, the ending was a surprise for me too. I thought I had the story written, and just needed to polish it. However, my muse had another idea, while driving home she whispered ‘add a different ending’. Thank you for reading and leaving a comment.

    1. Mumu, I know you’ve had a rough few years, and I’m glad my story could give you some comfort. Thank you for reading and reviewing.

    1. Sibylle, thank you so much for reading and leaving a comment. I’m sorry that I ended up compounding the grief and the loss, but it made the story all the more poignant (at least to me).

  6. Usually, I dislike stories that follow this part of canon, but in this case, it added a deeper feeling to the story. The ending was heartwrenching and the whole story was very sensitively written. Thanks for a very talent-filled work!

    1. MK4A, I believe we all dislike that part of canon. Oh how it all could have been had it happened differently. The ending was very difficult; I was bawling my eyes out as I tried to write the final sentence.

    1. AC, I’m glad you could envision Hoss with his Pa by the lake, that’s how my muse first presented the story to me. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  7. Loved it! Such a sweet scene with Ben and Hoss…you almost had me crying along with Ben at the end! Another great job on a wonderful story!

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