The roses which cover this arbor have a name and a story. The official name is now Peggy Martin. The nickname is “survivor.” In the middle of our final move away from this garden and home this past week. we had vivid reminders of the origin of this rose. Our area has been covered with the waters of a devastating, history-making flood. The Brazos River crested 2 days ago at a record-breaking 54.81 feet, As water surged from the river, entire neighborhoods were flooded and evacuated or stranded, roads rendered impassable, fields of crops and cattle inundated, and lives changed forever. There has been so much loss of property and livelihood.
The survivor rose is a symbol of this heartbreaking picture. In late August 2005, Category 4 Hurricane Katrina created this type of destruction in New Orleans on an even larger scale.Levees were breached, and 85 percent of the city was underwater. This rose was the only rose among over 400 antique roses surviving 20 feet of salt water over the garden of Mrs. Peggy Martin, Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, Mrs. Martin lost her parents, her home, and commercial fishing boat in the storm. When she was finally able to return to visit their property she was heartened to see the lush growth of her climbing rose, a testament to its toughness and status as a true survivor.
Our roses covered an arbor which has provided shade and shelter for children playing, birds nesting, and a place for quiet respite. This too, reminds me of our present circumstances. We have witnessed the hospitality and shelter of our community. Our church is a Red Cross shelter, where many evacuees have received a place to stay dry and sleep, meals, and help from many volunteers. Our emergency responders have diligently and consistently worked to rescue, assist, and keep us all informed and protected as much as possible. Many have responded with generosity and caring in a variety of ways. Neighbors have helped both neighbors and strangers. As Mr. Rogers once said, in trying to help children absorb the impact of tragedies, we can look beyond to the helpers.
I am thankful for the Grace that enables us to be helpers, to offer peace to one another, and that hope remains.