The hope is to live life in such a way that we keep our regrets down to a bare minimum.
One of my sillier regrets involves a train and rose blossoms...
I grew up in Mississauga on a tiny little dead end street. At the end of the street lived my first friend ever. His name was Brent. He was silly, smart, goofy and had a great imagination (he also insisted on chewing his peanut butter and banana sandwiches with his mouth wide open)!
We did everything together. Our plan was that we would grow up, get married and live on a train. I have no idea where that plan came from, but it felt great to dream about that adventure. He had a trusty wagon, which I was totally envious of. And we would play “train” all the time. He would sit cross-legged in the front, holding the handle and steering, while I sat with my back to his, dangling my legs off the back and paddling like crazy (I was the engine of this rig). I was so pleased to be on a wagon, that it never entered my mind that I was always doing all the “work” in this game … until much later.
His next door neighbors were an elderly couple from Ukraine, and she was an amazing gardener! Her prize possessions were the lovely row of roses that ran along the edge of her drive way – between Brent’s driveway and hers. They were absolutely perfect in every way. On breezy days you could actually catch a whiff of them from my house (which was three doors down, and on the other side of the street).
Every day in the summer, she would be in that garden bed – doing… well, we never really knew what? Whatever it took to have such perfect roses is what she did every single day throughout the whole summer every summer. She would always be in one of those “house aprons” that some women ware. You know the ones that go over your head and cover your chest and go down to your knees and tie up at the back (why don’t we still have those – they make sense) Anyhoo… she would be bent over for hours doing important “stuff” to her prize roses. And they were literally “prized”! I guess there was some sort of garden club that awarded her first place in the “amazing roses” category each year, and she was very proud of them. She loved them, she nurtured them…and they obviously brought her great joy.
Well the day came when us 7 years olds decided that enough was enough and it was time to get our adventure going. First things first…there HAD to be a wedding. Then it would simply be a matter of bidding farewell to our families and finding that magical train of ours, and we would live happily ever after!
So, I got dressed up in my mother’s old crinoline (another thing I wish we still wore), some horrifically fluffy top, and of course the ratty, stained white scarf which always acted as a veil of sorts in any dress-up situation. Brent got into his surprisingly snappy suit (an actual suit – his dad was a suit sales men…so this bad boy was a nice suit!). My Basset Hound (Buffy) acted as my bride’s maid, and his cat Gordy was his best man. I don’t think we had anything officiate the solemn ceremony – but I might just not remember….?
Anyhow, the nuptials occurred at the end of Brent’s driveway, and it was simply a lovely occasion! In my rapture of pomp and ceremony, it struck me…. “what makes wedding pictures so enchanting?” Obviously… the CONFETTI!
I’m sure you know where this is headed now…
So, good old faithful friend Brent and I RAVAGED poor Mrs. Nunarr’s rose bushes that afternoon! Every single rose was wildly and frantically ripped off its stem, and then ripped to pieces … just so that we could throw them into the warm summer air to see that moment when they fell like botanical snow down upon the newly married couple. It was glorious, it was so lovely and beautiful…it was pure joy!!!!
Then, of course we bid farewell to Gordy and Buffy and jumped onto our trusty “train”. With the new bride paddling like made, we took turn around the block – still covered in the odd rose petal here and there.
By the time we reached our little street again, we saw with fresh eyes the scale of botanical massacre that had occurred at our hands … all those incredibly healthy green rose bushes were all totally naked in the bloom department. And everywhere the lifeless “confetti” lay – rose carnage as far as the eye could see.
Suddenly, something about this whole wedding ceremony just did not quite feel right.
It was not long before our rear ends were definitely not feeling “right”! We both received a healthy does of reality later that evening in our respective homes. Whether you agree with spanking or not, I have to say, that I was made to sense the gravity of my actions (or at least my rump did), but it really did not truly hit me until as an adult, as I myself struggled year after year trying to keep just 3 measly rose bushes alive, let alone a dozen perfectly beautiful ones which we had plundered back then.
I don’t remember telling Mrs. Nunarr that I was sorry, but I’m sure I was made to do so at the time. But, now I can say I really am sorry that I did that! But, there is a whole other side of the story – the beauty of that childish moment, the wild abandon the innocence, the pure joy – what a mix of realities as Brent and I tossed all those petals into the air! I don't regret the memory of it!
Brent and I drifted apart as we got older, and our social groups slowly morphed away from each other. I regret having ruined those roses for that summer, but I regret loosing touch with my wagon partner much more!