where the writers are
The Kroger Chronicles, No 23: Saturday
Bachelor button, by me


After the trip to Texas, I have been talking straight to my id: Snap out of it! Life braids random sorrows and beauties, and then it dumps them on you, ready or not. This bundle in my arms is mine. Take it, hold it close. It’s the one chance I get. On Saturdays, the floral department blows up with customers facing their own chances and deciding flowers are necessary.

A dance studio recital for roughly half a million knee-high ballerinas means many demands for presentation bouquets. A girl in a flowered dress on her way to playing a concert with her flute wanted flowers for her teacher. A strapping fellow collected a corsage for his prom date: “She’s still at Loveland High. But I’m in college now.”

“These are for my daughter,” said one man. “She’s in a ballet recital.” A woman next to him with a bunch of carnations laughed. “My granddaughter must be in the same recital.” Another man, loaded with daisies, said, “What are the chances? These are for my son to give to his sister at her recital. He’s 3. She’s 6.”

Balloons, God help me, balloons – birthdays, graduations . . . recitals . . . One poor man brought in his own pack of balloons. I promptly exploded one; the others, weighted with Hi-Float to extend loft, simply crashed. Instead of trying the others, I took the chance of just comping him some extras from the Kroger stock. He pronounced himself “a highly satisfied customer.” 

A father, grandparents and a small girl studied the bouquet case for 10 minutes, waved off my help. Finally Dad chose a $5 mixed bunch and handed them to his child. Grandma started to offer an opinion. Dad ignored her. “Here, honey,” he told his daughter, peeling off bills. “Go with Grandma to the register. Daddy’s going to go buy a Powerball ticket.”