Big guy, a XXL Ohio State sweatshirt, jeans, down jacket, walked into the department before 8 one morning. He waved off help. Ten minutes later, wandering the tables, he acknowledged confusion, maybe he could use another pair of eyes. He knew for sure nothing fragile, like roses. Something that will last, “at least, as long as flowers last.”
On a Kroger shipping manifest, flowers and plants travel as “perishables.” The floral department conducts a daily seminar in the common conclusion of all living things. Tonight, I ran a brutal pre-holiday crackdown to scan out exhausted bouquets that a week before had glistened with dewy beauty – a short life, but still a moment of its own, individual yet part of the great continuum.
Two women stopped by for two 20-stem bunches of pink tulips. The younger of the two stepped away to shop for something else. The other stayed to pay. I asked: “What’s the occasion?” She replied, “We’re taking them to the cemetery. It’s my grandson’s 10th birthday.” So sorry, I said. Was he ill? “Murdered. Five years ago.”
A caller wanted 12 flowers of different colors, each wrapped and ribboned for 12 grandchildren to place in Grandma’s casket. The youngest grandchild, age 4, wanted a green flower, the caller said; “I tried to explain that stems and leaves are green, but not flowers,” and I was stumped, too, until I looked up from the phone call right at some little pompom chrysanthemums the color of a lime.
The big guy in the Ohio State sweatshirt finally stopped his wanderings. He made eye contact with a big bunch of white daisies. He reached for it, pulled it from the bucket, brought it to his face, inhaled. This would do, he said. "She liked these. My mother. It’s been two years. I don’t want to forget her.”
Causes Anne Saker Supports
Freedom of thought.