Not All Roses Smell The Same
by Rob Berresford of Airdrie, Alberta, Canada
Kathy folded her uncle’s letter, placing it in her pocket. “Do you think he’ll be here soon?” she asked her brother.
Danny heard a horn. Looking out onto the sunlit street he saw his Uncle Will parking his truck. Danny waved at him. Grabbing the handle of the suitcase, he lugged it towards the street. “Come on, Kath, he’s here. Let’s go,” he urged.
Oh no. Not that smelly farm truck, thought Kathy. Reluctantly she picked up her bag. Following her brother, Kathy slowed as she approached the truck. Stopping short of the sidewalk, she watched her uncle place her bag behind the seat.
Kathy placed her hand across her nose to keep the smell away. She stepped to the running board and grasped the window crank. Quickly, she rolled the door window down. Sliding onto the seat, Kathy opened the rear cab-sliding window, behind her.
Danny climbed in. Adjusting his seat belt, he fastened it across his lap.
Kathy twisted around to find her seat belt.
Something wet hit Kathy’s nose. She fell back with a squeal of fright.
A small thin colt thrust its head through the rear window. Large brown eyes stared at Kathy.
“All right!” exclaimed Danny. “A colt. Can I ride back there with it?”
“No,” said Uncle Will. “I have to take her to the auction. Her momma died and I don’t have the time to look after her.”
Gently Uncle Will urged Kathy back into the center of the seat. Pushing the colt’s head out of the window, he slid the glass across until it was almost closed. Kathy twisted around in the seat until she was kneeling against the backrest. The colt stared at her with sad eyes. Poor thing, she thought.
“Can I keep her?” she asked her uncle. “I’ll look after her.”
Danny laughed. “You don’t know how,” he said.
Uncle Will studied Kathy for a minute. “No, Kathy. It would be too much work for you.”
Kathy sat back down in the seat. Twisting around, she looked at the colt. The colt stared back at her.
“I need to pick up some things,” said Uncle Will. “Strap in.”
Kathy did up her seat belt. She watched the stores and people pass by. Every little while she would turn around to look at the colt.
“You’re going to need some farm clothes,” said Uncle Will. He turned into a parking lot.
“What about the colt?” asked Kathy, following her uncle out of the truck.
“She’ll be okay,” answered her uncle.
Kathy came out of the store with her new farm clothes on. She ran to the truck. The colt was lying motionless on the floor of the truck box.
“Something’s wrong,” she cried. Running to the back of the truck, she climbed over the tailgate.
Uncle Will and Danny rushed to the truck. Uncle Will reached the truck at the same time as Kathy reached the colt.
“It’s okay. She’s just asleep,” said her uncle.
Kathy fussed with the colt. It woke up and began rubbing against her. She laughed when the colt’s slobbery tongue tickled her palms. Wrapping her arms around the colt’s neck, she begged her uncle. “Please let me keep her.”
“No,” stated Uncle Will firmly. “There won’t be anybody to look after her when you go home in the fall.”
A single tear rolled down Kathy’s cheek. She climbed out of the truck box and into the cab. Turning to look at the colt, another tear collected at the edge of her eye.
“It’s starting to rain,” said Danny. Rolling the window up, he leaned against Kathy to avoid the splatter of rain bouncing off the doorframe.
Uncle Will chuckled. “They have a saying here. If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.”
“You mean it changes that fast?” asked Kathy.
“Sometimes,” answered her uncle.
Uncle Will turned the truck into a parking lot. He parked it alongside of a large painted steel fence. Rushing around to the passenger side of the truck he picked up the colt. Uncle Will carried her through a gate, placing the colt inside a pen. Closing the gate, he hurried towards the door of the building at the end of the fence.
Kathy watched the colt. It poked its head out between the fence rails. “She’s going to get cold,” she whispered to herself. Opening the driver’s door, she scrambled out and ran through the rain. Reaching the fence, she undid the latch and opened the gate. Wrapping her arms around the colt’s neck, she guided it towards the truck.
Stopping in front of the door, she looked up at her brother’s face. Danny shook his head at her. Tears started rolling down her cheeks, mixing with the rain.
Kathy jumped when Uncle Will spoke behind her.
“Kathy, why is the colt out here?” he asked.
Tears streamed down Kathy’s face. All she could do was sob.
Uncle Will knelt beside her.
Kathy wrapped her arms around her uncle’s neck. “She’s cold. I can’t leave her in the rain,” Kathy sobbed into his ear.
Placing his hands on Kathy’s shoulders, Uncle Will looked her in the eye. “Will you look after her?” he asked.
Kathy nodded between sobs.
Uncle Will picked up the colt and placed her in the truck box. Taking Kathy’s hand, he helped her into the cab.
“She needs a name,” said Uncle Will. “We can’t keep calling her She.”
Kathy saw a decal of a rose on the dash of the truck. Below it was printed You Are In Wild Rose Country. “I’m going to call her Rose,” said Kathy.
“Well, your Rose smells and so do your new clothes,” said Danny holding his nose.
Uncle Will laughed. “I call my truck Rose,” he said to Kathy, with a smile.
“Well, my Rose smells better than your Rose does,” stated Kathy.
Uncle Will looked at her for a few seconds. Chuckling, he turned and started the truck. “Time for a bath, Rose,” he said, patting the dash of the truck.
“I think this will be a great summer vacation,” Kathy said to her brother. Opening the sliding window, she giggled when Rose thrust her head into the cab of the truck.