Sundays In The South – Remembering Mama

Barbara VanCleave
1934 – 2006

My mother was something. She had a big personality and never met a stranger. She taught me many things, one of which was to love people and roses.

I never realized the true impact of her life on others until after she was gone. I received the following email from a cousin after my mother’s funeral. It just proves to me more than ever that even the smallest things we do and say have a huge impact on others. She was indeed a precious rose in the garden of my life and her physical presence is missed daily. Her spiritual presence is alive and well in my heart and in my garden where her favorite roses now bloom in the splendor of happy memories……

From my cousin Vickie Mashburn Mangrum – March 2006

“I had come to Nashville with Granny Gallian, and for some reason I rode back to Lawrenceburg with your Mom. I was shy, but always impressed by the way she carried herself and dressed. I probably starred at her a lot. LOL Anyway, on this one particular trip, I was so in awe, I couldn’t tell you who, if anyone else was in the car with us. Back then steering wheels in cars weren’t padded, so each time her hand would lift from the wheel and return it would make a clicking sound from her rings. I swear I can still hear it! It was as if she knew I was mesmerized by this sound because it seems it went on the whole trip. I don’t remember speaking at all. Just sitting in the passenger side starring at all her beautiful rings, and telling myself, one day I want to be a lady like that. I know when I grew up and started driving, and to this day, I try to make my rings click like hers did. It sounds so silly, but for some reason that memory has never left. Any time I want, I’m that little girl sitting in the front sit of your mom’s car, completely oblivious to my surroundings except her. Hhhmm, I wonder if that’s why I’m a girly girl today???” 

Happy Mother’s Day To All!

About Chris VanCleave - America's Favorite Rose Gardener

Christopher R. VanCleave – America’s Favorite Rose Gardener Nicknamed "The Redneck Rosarian”, Chris VanCleave is passionate about gardening and growing roses. He is an active member of the Birmingham chapter of the American Rose Society, serving two terms as President. In 2007, he created the Rose Chat Podcast which has reached over a half a million listeners with news and information on growing on growing the world’s most beloved flower, the rose. He was a contributor to the 2015 Southern Living Gardening Book, has appeared on P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home television show and was featured in the June 2015 issue of Southern Living Magazine. Locally, Chris serves as Chairman of the Helena Alabama Beautification Board where he has spearheaded efforts to create a sustainable landscape in one of the top one hundred places to live in the United States. His writing is seen at and on his popular website;, where he chronicles his gardening adventures and explores an intrinsic mix of life, faith and gardening. An agent of change with over 20 years’ experience in process innovation, Mr. VanCleave is leading the charge to reinvigorate horticultural societies and helping them to reach their full potential in the social media age.
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6 Responses to Sundays In The South – Remembering Mama

  1. shemann says:

    Lovely photos of your Mother. Special lady.


  2. What a sweet story about a special lady!


  3. I love this story! How special for your cousin to send her remembrance to you. It’s wonderful to have such a seemingly insignificant thing turn out to be a huge memory.


  4. What a beautiful Mother’s Day tribute to your mom. I love the story that your cousin shared. These detailed memories mean so much when a loved one is gone, just like your mother’s roses.


  5. Kevin says:

    What a lovely memory and tribute to your mother. Very touching.


  6. CurtissAnn says:

    How blessed you were, and are, to have had such a mother. Thanks for the smile.


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