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I Picked 101 Roses from Our Neighbor's Garden for My Sick Mom, Police Came Later – Story of the Day

Manuela Cardiga
Sep 18, 2022
03:00 P.M.
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A little boy eager to please his sick mom raids his grumpy old neighbor's prized roses and has to deal with the consequences when the police come calling.

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When I was eight, my mom was very sick and very sad, and there was nothing my dad or my grandmother could do to cheer her up. I made her a get-well-soon card, but that didn't work either.

She looked at it and smiled weakly. Then it dropped out of her hands, and she was staring out of the window again. "I love you, mom," I said and kissed her soft cheek, but all she said was, "There are no roses..."

For illustration purposes only | Source:  Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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I knew what she was talking about. Not long ago, we lived in a much bigger house, with a big garden full of roses, roses everywhere. They grew in bushes and clambered up the walls of the house.

There were big blowsy roses and tiny miniature roses, ones that had a strong perfume, and some that had no smell at all, but mom loved them all. She pottered around the garden, and under her hands, they bloomed.

We lived in that house all my life, then when I was six, things went very wrong. Dad's business crashed, and even though he managed to save the company, he had to fire two-thirds of his staff, and we had to sell the big house.

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A true gift is one that speaks to the heart.

We moved to a smaller house, and the minute she saw it, mom hated it. We pulled up in front of a grey house, and in front of it was a dusty square of earth on which not a blade of grass grew. The earth was dry and grey, as dusty and defeated looking as the house.

"It will be great, May," dad said cheerfully. "You'll see! I'll paint the house on the weekends, and you'll plant your roses!"

"Yes," mom said, forcing a smile. "It will be wonderful, John!" But we could both see she wasn't the least bit excited.

"Oh, look, mom!" I cried. I pointed at the garden next door, where thousands of flowers nodded over the hedges. "The neighbor has ROSES! That means you can grow them too!"

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

But mom wasn't feeling well, and she didn't have the energy to start a new garden from scratch. I didn't know it then, but she was pregnant, and things weren't going well.

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Then they went very wrong, and mom lost the baby. She came back from the hospital so white and sad...Grandma came to stay with us for a while to help out.

I hated that. She slept in my room, and she SNORED so loud the windows rattled. I tried to get dad to send her back home, but he refused.

"Your grandmother is helping your mom," he said sternly. "I need her. I have to work twice as hard to get the business back on its feet, and she'd been a lifesaver. You see that you treat your grandmother Grace well."

I grumbled and said nasty things under my breath, but I obeyed even though I didn't think grandma Grace was helping mom at all. She needed her roses.

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I sat on the porch and stared at the neighbor's garden. She was out among the roses, wearing a huge hat that made her look like a mushroom and thick garden gloves.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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She saw me looking and snarled, "What are you doing, looking at my roses, you nosy brat?" She was REALLY ugly, with a long thin nose that was always red, and she had a lot of thick white hairs on her mustache.

I tried to be polite. "I was just looking," I replied. "They're real pretty! My mom used to have roses..."

She snorted. "These aren't just roses, boy! These are award-winning champions! YOUR mother never had any of THOSE, did she?"

I had to admit that she didn't, but she wasn't mollified by my response. "Get out!" she bent down and lifted a garden hose. She drenched me before I could escape. I wasn't happy, not at all.

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"You don't deserve those roses!" I screamed. "You're an ugly old witch, and you have a MUSTACHE! Why don't you go shave and leave me alone?"

She got REALLY mad and came after me, but I hid. Sitting behind the shed, my heart thumping, was when the idea hit me. I was going to get my mom roses. I was going to get her the NEIGHBOR'S roses!

I made my preparations and waited until my grandmother was fast asleep and snoring like a freight train before I snuck out of the house and into the moonlight.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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I don't think I'd ever worked so hard in my young life, and when the sun rose, everything was ready and in place. I sat on the floor in a corner of my mom and dad's bedroom and waited for them to wake up.

The sun lit up the room, and my mom opened her eyes. "John!" she cried. "John, wake up!" She dug a sharp elbow in my dad's ribs and slowly sat up.

Her eyes were wide open, and so was her mouth, and color came into her cheeks as she looked around the room at the dozens of roses I'd taken from the neighbor's garden. Not dozens, to be honest.

I'd wanted 100 roses, but I miscounted so there were actually 101. Some I'd picked and stuck in buckets and pans, anything that could hold flowers and water, but three I'd actually torn up, roots and all.

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It was a mess, but it was a glorious mess. My mom started crying, reaching out to touch the velvety petals, burying her face in the roses. Then she saw me sitting in my corner, watching her.

"Daniel," she said. "Did you do this? Did you bring all these flowers here?"

I nodded. "Come here," she said. She opened her arms to me just like she used to, and there were tears running down her cheeks. "Come here, my baby boy!"

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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I ran to her, and she hugged me tight and rocked me. "Thank you," she whispered. "Thank you, Daniel."

By then my dad had woken up, and he was looking around with his jaw hanging.

"This is a MESS!" he said, staring at the muddy footprints and the spilled water and the gravel ground into the carpet.

"Hush, John," mom said. "This is the most beautiful, magical thing anyone has ever done for me!"

Of course, she didn't say that when the neighbor came calling later that day with the police.

"That THING," the neighbor snarled and pointed a long claw at me. "HE STOLE MY ROSES!"

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"I'm so sorry," my mom said. "Daniel is just seven, and I'm sure he didn't realize..."

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

"He's a CRIMINAL!" the neighbor screeched. "I'll have JUSTICE!"

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"Why did you destroy Mrs. Eggan's garden, young man?" one of the police officers asked me.

I squirmed. I wasn't about to tell them about the garden hose, so I opened my eyes wide and looked as innocent as Christmas morning.

"My mom was very sad 'cause she missed her roses. So I thought... The lady has so many roses... I didn't think she'd miss a few..."

"A few?" screamed Mrs. Eggan. "You tore up my Angel Eyes and my Beautiful Sunrise..."

"Young man," the policeman said sternly, but I could see a twinkle in his eye. "I think you need to apologize to Mrs. Eggan, and for the next six months, you need to work in her garden, to get everything ship-shape again."

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I could see by the look in Mrs. Eggan's eyes that she hated that idea as much as I did. "Yes, sir," I said humbly. "I surely will."

And I did. Over the next six months, Mrs. Eggan and I worked side by side like slaves in a galley. Funny, but we got to be great friends, best friends, especially when she started to help my mom, and give her cuttings for her new rose garden.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

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My mom was better, and working in the garden healed her. To this day, I love roses, but the most beautiful ones I've ever seen were the 101 roses I gave my mom.

What can you learn from this story?

  • A true gift is one that speaks to the heart. Nothing Daniel could have given his mother meant more than a living gift of roses and hope for the future.
  • Sometimes we make friends in the most unexpected ways. Daniel hated their neighbor, but they ended up becoming the best friends in the world.

Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.

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If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a florist who becomes curious when she notices that an 89-year-old man is buying red roses every day, so she decides to follow him to discover his secret.

This piece is inspired by stories from the everyday lives of our readers and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone’s life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to info@amomama.com.

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