Little things provide cheer in dark times

Jerry Apps
This 50 year old rose bush requires little care but provides so much cheer.

During these days of uncertainly, despair, and disappointment, it is often the little things, the simple things that can cheer us up.  A baby’s smile, a puppy’s wagging tail, a playful kitten, an autumn sunset, the smile in the eyes of a friend who is wearing a mask, the smell of freshly baked bread.  And for me, an old rose bush that stands at the corner of our cabin.

I planted the rose bush 50 years ago; it must have a name but I don’t remember what it is.  Each year it grows a bit taller and a bit wider.  It begins blooming in early spring, and continues blooming all summer long—it is still blooming now as we move into fall.  It will continue blooming until a hard freeze when it drops its leaves and rests until spring arrives.

Besides its many cheering blooms, the rose bush requires no care.  No watering, no fertilizing, nothing at all. The deer don’t bother it. It grows and blooms during dry spells and rainy periods.  It is buried in snow during the winter. It asks for nothing and gives much.

My farm is located in the township of Rose, in Waushara County—perhaps this is one of the reasons that my old rose bush continues to do so well.  This is its home; this is where it is supposed to be.  And for me, just looking at it makes me feel better.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: It is often the little things, the simple things that can cheer us up.

Jerry Apps

Jerry Apps, born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than 35 books, many of them on rural history and country life. For further information about Jerry's writing and TV work go to