A woman proud of her man’s skills

Published 9:30 am Friday, July 19, 2013

Every woman’s got to have the opportunity to have braggin’ rites on her man, every now and then.

While I’ve chronicled his deft ability in the kitchen, making from scratch, rustic tomato tarts and Portobello pot pie, Paul can also build and hang a gate, if I need one, has his own wine cellar (a window unit stuck into a cedar-lined closet in the shack behind the barn) and, at my prodding, picked up enough basic skills as a rider to allow me to realize a dream of us galloping along the sea of the Dingle Peninsula, in southern Ireland, shortly after we met.

Like anyone, he’s not without flaws: he snores like a fog horn, feigns ignorance that bed sheets and towels need to be changed weekly for the sake of hygiene and let’s just skip the obligatory toilet seat jokes … but most importantly, Paul has a focus and work ethic that makes migrant workers look lazy. And the latest result was somewhat breathtaking.

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It was just over a year ago that it was learned that the King family (yes, that King family) had been searching for the perfect rose to name after their late mother, Coretta Scott King. It had to be a specimen that would evoke the symbol of peace and love for which Mrs. King stood as she valiantly carried on the work of her husband, Dr. Martin Luther King; a rose as full of grace and beauty as she. Frustratingly, it had not been found.

When Paul, best known for his accomplishments as a rosarian, was approached for his expertise, he drew upon his contacts of breeders and drove to Atlanta with a selection from which to choose.

Bernice King took very little time to settle upon the flower which now honors her mother: “The Coretta Scott King Rose,” its creamy double blooms blushed with tones of coral and orange. It is indeed exquisite and Paul was delighted to be able to fulfill the family’s longtime quest. But he was astounded to find himself invited, this past week, to Atlanta, to take part in the 86th birthday of Mrs. King with a ceremony that included planting four of the roses near the final resting place of Dr. and Mrs. King as well as laying wreaths, woven through with the blooms, on the actual crypts.

“It was just so surreal,” he mused, reliving the account to me as he sipped from an overtly strong martini when he returned.