Like last year, this single red tulip once again made its appearance in my all white and blue  garden. And like last year, I accept it and welcome it. It has become quite a game and I’m amused by the tulip’s proudness and dedication to defeat me. It reminds me of a guy I once knew at university who wouldn’t give up either.


He was madly in love with me, completely, head over heels..and yes, he was sort of cute too, I thought at that stage. I was staying in a hostel for girls on campus, fourth floor out of six, overlooking beautifully tended campus gardens. And he was staying in a hostel for boys, way off, on the other side of the campus. That’s how it was those days. No men allowed in the girls’ hostels and vice versa, which made for very exciting experiences! Except of course, for visiting hours in the lounge downstairs.

Very regularly, he would show up at my hostel, long after visiting hours, on nights when the moon was showing off in the sky and the stars were sparkling impatiently with anticipation. With his guitar and a red rose and his best friend, I would be charmed with unashamedly beautiful love songs from the garden under my window. Their strong, deep melodious voices, trained from years of singing, had every girl hanging out their windows along with me, losing ourselves in the charm and romance of “old world courting” from down below.  Beautiful beautiful brown eyes, would always be on the list of songs and their voices would fade away in the distance with Goodnight ladies. My red rose, always stolen from an overflowing garden somewhere, would be left on the windowsill downstairs at the front door, for the hostel had already firmly been locked up for the night.

And so it happened that he got caught one night while stealing my red rose. He unfortunately chose the garden of the Professor of engineering, with whom he was very well acquainted…! He was allowed the rose, but had to work the Professor’s compost heap for two weekends. For a while, it was slow on the rose-serenading-scene and we all missed it..all the ladies, that is. Then one night there he was again, with a stolen red rose and guitar and his best friend. The cute guy I once knew. And who I still know. He is my husband.

28 thoughts on “The red tulip

  1. What a beautiful story, actually quite a life lesson. Just one question does he still serenade you and bring you roses?

    By the way, a lovely painting also. I always enjoy your use of color and light. It’s an inspiration to see your work. Do you think you could do another WIP?

  2. What a great story! (Though I’m not sure that I really approve of men behaving like that — it’s making me look bad!) Great sketch to go with it, too.

  3. And there I was thinking – what will Hartman think about this?! And there he was, all along, I should have known. You, with your lovely watercolour, and magical story have ended my day on a perfect note. Now I’m going to see if there is a single red rose on my windowsill.

  4. Ronell, I see you are won over by dedication when found in flowers and young men. What a beautiful story and a lovely sketch. Thank you for sharing both.


  6. Ronell, you are one lucky lady – then and now!!!! What a fabulous story and what a special memory.

    I don’t need to ask if Hartman still brings you red roses.A romantic man like that, it’s bread in their bones. 🙂

    Ahh, amour! C’est l’essence de la vie!

  7. Thank you for visitng and all your fun comments!
    Marsha and Diahn: the and serenades have been replaced in the meantime by other “little things”, but I do get my rose still from time to time, fortunately(unfortunately?) not stolen any more…

  8. Well of course you had to marry him if he was as charming as your sketch! What a divine story with a very happy ending – it’s a great start to my day (I have some autumn red roses in my garden, I think I’ll go and pick one right now!)…

  9. How romantic! Nice little story, I really didn’t realise you were talking about your husband until the end!

    I love your painting too. I remember that tulip from last year. What a gorgeous analogy to make of it.

  10. Oh, love this. The words and the picture. What a great story. And the drawing as ever is gorgeous – as is everything you post Ronnell. I don’t know how you do it.

  11. Ahhh, Ronell! Beautiful story, I was wondering where and why you might have ditched the romantic one, was glad to know you kept him for your own! So does he still sing you love songs? I certainly hope so and suspect the answer is, “Yes”. Lovely painting with all of your beautiful looseness!

  12. Hi Ronell

    Ek glo dat ek nie jou regte adres het nie. Stuur ‘n ‘hi’, asb. Ek dink ek moet vir ‘n kunsvakansie vir jou kom kuier. (Dit sluit nou gratis lesse en heerlike kos in !!)

  13. Wow! What a beautiful story! I was reading it and crossing my fingers for you two to end up together, I’m so glad you and the boy of the red rose are still together. May you always keep that magic…

  14. I found myself reading faster and faster and hoping all along it was your husband! LOL! What a terrific memory and I, too, am so happy to see your red tulip making it’s grand entrance again this year!!

  15. WOW what a story. i was thinking while reading it, how could you pass up a guy like this? how could you not fall in love with him? I love that you married him, and I hope he still sings love songs to you.

    I have been catching up on reading your posts. Am still loving your work. The carrots, they are so good.

Tthank you for your visit and comment, II appreciate it!

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