Originally recorded by the country star C.W. McCall, the song “Roses for Mama” also has a rendition by Red Sovine. The song centers on a traveler’s thoughtful actions towards a motherless boy.
The song begins when the narrator stops in a little Georgian village while en route to Florida to spend time with an old friend. He phones his mother in Chapel Hill, Tennessee, during the stop to wish her a happy birthday and makes plans to wire her some roses. A 5-year-old boy with teary eyes runs into him at the flower shop. The boy, who claims to have not seen his mother in nearly a year, is concerned because he cannot afford to buy roses for her.
The boy explains how he lived with his grandfather (in McCall’s version, his grandmother) and how he had promised to buy his mother five roses to honor her birthday, but only had a penny to spare. The narrator is moved by the story and decides to contribute to the boy’s purchase.
Later, as the narrator is leaving town, he comes across the boy at an old cemetery, kneeling beside what appears to be his mother’s grave. The boy tells the narrator that “Here is where my mother resides,” and after realizing that he is taking his own mother for granted, the narrator decides to take his bouquet of roses and offer it to her in person.
“Roses for Mama” reminds us to reflect on how passive we have grown in our displays of affection. We appear to have lost sight of the importance of being present for those we love while embracing modernism. People have been too caught up with the fast-paced world of technology that we tend to forget to spend time with actual people, and that it is alright to leave the virtual world for a bit.
Did the song’s story also tug you at your heartstrings? You may want to listen to Red Sovine‘s “Roses for Mama” below.