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I stopped and smelled the roses. My neighbor, a few doors down, has such a nice group of roses in his front yard.

“Hey, get off my lawn! What the hell are you doing?”

His tone really startled me. He had burst out of his front door, and was shaking his finger at me.

“Um… I was just… I was just smelling your roses. They’re really beautiful!”

“Yeah, and you are sticking your god damn nose in them! Does this look like a public garden to you? Get off my lawn! Now!”

Wow, that really sucked.

Chagrined… I went home, quietly closed the door, sat down, and tried to catch my breath.

Then it dawned on me: We are supposed to stop and smell the roses! No wonder the light bulb went off. I just love the light bulb! You know, the one that forms right above you head, goes DING, and there you are:

I bought a plethora of roses. I made sure all were beautiful, and that many would have a wonderful aroma. To be certain, it was a lot of work. In fact, it took quite a bit of time. Also, it cost a bit. But, I nurtured those babies like you cannot believe. Carved out a nice front corner of the yard, along the sidewalk, so as people would walk by, when the roses were in bloom, they may catch the aroma without even bending over. I always hope, though, that they do stop, smell the roses, take their time, really inhale… and enjoy. I even put up a sign there that read: Please, stop and smell the roses!

Not once though did I ever see the A B N.

What is the A B N? Oh, that’s short for the Angry Bitter Neighbor. Even better, there is now a For Sale sign in front of his house.

Woo hoo!

The moral of the story? Plant your own roses. Don’t just stop and smell them. Plant ’em, feed ’em, and promote ’em. Invariably you are going to marvel about how unique it is that such an elegant plant comes with such intimidating thorns. You may believe, like I do, that the rose is God’s plan, perhaps for all of us: Great beauty, with an innate desire to survive.

As to the Angry Bitter Neighbor… Ah, you know he’s just a weed!