The Story of the Black Rose

Many years ago, I bought an heirloom swage block from a lovely lady named Rose after some tough negotiating. As part of the deal, she asked me to one day make her a steel rose. I lost her number, she moved, life happened and I forgot all about it. In 2013 we began to make steel roses. And then one day a welding machine repairman I know stopped by my shop, as he often does, except this time he noticed the swage block and recognized it. We talked about it and suddenly both realized the answer to the mystery; his mother was the lady I had bought the swage block from all those years ago. I remembered the promise I had made then, and we decided to finally fulfill it, now that I knew where to find Rose.

Here’s the video of what happened when Rose opened a very special present on Christmas Day, 2014:
A present for Rose

And here is the story of the black rose, as remembered by Rose herself:

It is Christmas day, December 25, 2014. My son Jason, his wife Nancy and my two grandchildren, Alex and Bailey are here in Westlock from Grande Prairie.
We opened gifts upstairs and now we are finishing the gifts downstairs. There is only one left. The tag said that it has to be opened last. The gift was to Rose from Santa. I didn’t know why, but Nancy started to video tape what was happening.
I opened the first box. There was another box inside. This wrapped gift had an ”HELL ‘N’ BACK” sticker on it. I knew what this was. After all this time………..I opened the box and took out the gift. It was heavy, it was beautiful, and it was black……………………
Let’s go back ten years to Saturday, May 01, 2004………………………
My husband Burt and I were living in a house close to the Catholic Conference Center in Peace River. We are planning to move to an apartment by the police station, so we decided to have a yard sale.
A young man arrived and saw a swage block sitting on the ground by the shed. He asked if it was for sale. No, it is not. I explained that it had belonged to my Father. I told him that I looked upon it as an heirloom and have used it every winter since about 1985 as weight in the trunk of my vehicle. It was in pretty bad shape. It had cracks and a chunk was missing from the corner. It had sand, rust, and grit all over it. We left it outside most of the summer. We knew that it would not get stolen because it was too heavy to move. He asked if I knew what it was originally used for. I explained that I had seen my Father use it when I was a child. He said that he wanted to be a blacksmith and could use this swage block. He had relatives that were in this trade and he wanted to do it too. He asked about a price. I think I started at $1,000,000. We dickered a lot about a price and could not come to an agreement. He left the yard sale and drove away.
He returned a couple of hours later. I sort of remember his wife at this time. But this deal was between him and me. I finally agreed to sell it by the pound. We weighed it and I agreed to sell it for $200. He asked if we had any pictures of my father using this swage block. I did not think so, because my father took lots of pictures and was not in a lot of them. I said that I would see what I could do.
There was one extra thing…………….I asked him if he could make me a rose that would withstand the weather that I could put into my outside flower bed. Make it out of metal. Make it black.
He said that he had not made any but he would work on it. I gave him my name and phone number and he promised that he would make a rose and give it to me as part of the deal. We shook hands to seal the deal. My husband helped him load the swage block into his vehicle. As he drove away I turned to my husband and said, “Now what am I going to do about weight in the trunk of my car?” I hope it goes to a good home.

I saw him a while later and asked about the flower. He said that there were problems and he lost my number, but he would contact me.
Now it is 2005…..we bought a trailer in Peace River…..
It’s now 2006…..2007…..2008…..2009…..2010…..2011…..2012…..we moved to Westlock….2013…..2014….
My son Jason and his wife came for a quick visit in late January of 2014. He was saying that he knows a man who makes and sells beautiful black roses. Jason bought one for Nancy as a Valentine’s day gift. He said this man also does welding and lives outside of Nampa. His business is Hell N Back Welding Ltd. Jason has known him since about 2009.
This sounded very much like the man that I sold the swage block to a long, long time ago. I told Jason the story. He said that he would contact Doug and see if he is the same person.
Well, Jason, if it is the same person, tell him that I am still waiting for my rose!!!!!!!
Now, we are back to Christmas 2014. I knew that when I saw the HELL ‘N’ BACK sticker…………I finally got my rose! YES, VIRGINIA, THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS!
After it was all over, we talked about how this all came about. When Jason talked to Doug after talking to me, Doug said that he remembered how hard it was to make a deal with me. Jason explained that this woman was his Mother and the swage block once belonged to his grandfather. Doug was amazed. Jason picked up the rose on November 20, 2014. Doug told him to give it to me for Christmas. He asked if the opening of the gift could be videoed.
Jason showed me a picture of the swage block. It looks new! He explained that Doug uses it to make the roses. We went on the web-site and saw the different roses and other items that Doug makes by using the swage block. They are all so beautiful.
I look upon life like making a jigsaw puzzle. You do the edge pieces first. This puzzle of the black rose started May 01, 2004. There were two pieces missing for over 10 years. I found those last two pieces. One piece was put in on December 25. There is still one piece left to put in. That will be done sometime in the summer of 2015 when I stop in and visit Doug and see that refurbished swage block. That will be the full circle.
Hope you enjoyed this story of the black rose………………

Rose Olson