Friday, December 17, 2010


Every holiday finds me with sore fingers from rose thorns and douglas needles. Each holiday brings sneezing and watery eyes. Each holiday brings long hours on my cold feet.

Each holiday, I work at the flower shop.
Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentines, Mothers Day.
All year. Each year.

There are things I love and things I hate. But more so, things I simply don't understand.

Today, we received an order for 14 identical centerpieces to be sent to 14 different addresses. Each costing $79.99, plus the $9.99 shipping fee - all coming to a grand total of $1259.72, but don't worry, the orderer had a.. that is, one.. coupon for $10 off.

Why would you spend such ludicrous amounts on money on something so perishable? The flowers will wilt, the greens will shrivel, all you will be left with are laminated pinecones and styrofoam crab apples in a soggy mess of Oasis.

But then I remember how it feels to get flowers.
For my 18th birthday, I wasn't expecting much - no grand celebrations, no ridiculous wish list. The plan was, work the Diner's breakfast shift and head off to spend the weekend with my boyfriend. A plain and simple birthday. If you've ever had the joyful experience of waitressing, you know how crowded a fifties diner can be at 9:00 on a saturday morning. Each booth overflowing with grumpy old men or anxious little ones, not very occupied with the crayons you put out. The loud chatter over hot, just poured coffee and crinkled newspapers left from the early morning regulars. Well, I found out that day that there is at least one way to make an entire diner come to a halt.

I was in the middle of taking an order. The usual #3, eggs scrambled, wheat toast. When behind the booth, out the window, I see a flower delivery van pull in - Pealer's, where I work. Odd. I continue with the order. 2 pieces of French Toast, extra butter. Got it.

In walks a man carrying a bouquet of balloons, tied to a bag of Hershey's kisses. He sits them on the hostess's counter and I sigh a breath of relief - balloons, that's all. Mom and Aiden must have ordered those. Then, in he comes again with 17 (well, it was supposed to be eighteen) red roses. At that point, the entire diner goes quiet as the hostess yells my name.

All at once, the entire restaurant burst into cheer and applause. More excited for my birthday surprise than I was, in all honesty. It was a movie moment. One of the few moments of my life that I wish had been caught on film. I've never seen anything quite like it.

Poor Ryan, my boyfriend, almost didn't receive credit for the moment - I assumed the flowers had been delivered from my mom and almost didn't bother to read the card.

[I love you, Babe.]

So I guess the point of flowers is nothing to do with the flowers themselves. It's not about how beautiful they are, how great they smell, or how long they last. Flowers are a feeling. They're what you get the person on your list who already has everything... and then some.

The flowers may be perishable, but the memories aren't.

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