Don Hill: A rose is a rose is a rose


The phrase “A rose is a rose is a rose” is used to convey that something is the same regardless of how you intend to package it.

It means that a thing is what it is, and you can’t hide its true nature by redesigning or reworking it. The phrase is often attributed to Gertrude Stein, who used it in her poem, “Sacred Emily,” back in 1913.

I just tossed that in to let you know I am a romantic even though you see me as a rough, tough, hard-muscled individual.

Anyway, that’s not what this column is about. It’s about the rose. Seems it has been around for a while. The rose has been used romantically and religiously for centuries. It was associated with Venus, the Roman goddess of love. The red ones are the choice of lovers. Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be the same without red roses.

But what about the other colors? Seems there are many different colors, and apparently, rose lovers have tacked meaning to them all.

Back in my college days, my fraternity, the good old Lambda Chi’s, the symbol was the white rose. Ha. When you look it up, you find the meaning of the white rose is innocence. Now, that beats all. Further from the truth. I don’t recall how that was selected.

Peach roses are known for showing thanks and expressing gratitude. They are commonly given to celebrate a business deal or arrangement. And can be a sign of loyalty.

The yellow rose is used more for friendship and happiness. Texas locked onto it in song. Back when the Mellencamp fans flocked to the arts center, one of the fans was a nurse from Texas who had cancer. Later when she passed away, she had requested yellow roses be planted in the Minutes to Memories Garden here at the arts center. The fans came and planted a yellow rose garden. Her husband sent a check to support it for several years until he died. Later, the roses died as well. I have many wonderful memories of Mellenheads over the years.

There are many meanings and colors of roses. There also are other meanings, such as:

If we are “looking through rose-colored glasses,” it usually means the future is bright. If you are “in the pink,” you are healthy and in high spirits. It is the hopes for those who are fighting breast cancer. And if you take time to smell the roses, it is a good way to get out of the rat race.

The phrase “To come out smelling like a rose” is to have success or good fortune in a situation which was likely to fail or be harmful. If you win the Kentucky Derby, you will get a bunch of them.

There are round stained-glass windows known as rose windows. There are girls named Rose, and of course, Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses. Let’s not forget Pete Rose. How about Citizen Kane’s Rosebud? OK, so it was a sled but much more.

I don’t think a guy can go wrong on Valentine’s Day if he brings home a dozen roses. A box of candy maybe, but roses nails it. Roses are also good for an apology. So go out and buy the little lady a dozen to make up for that goof you pulled.

Don Hill is a resident of Seymour and a longtime volunteer for Southern Indiana Center for the Arts. Send comments to [email protected].

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