Hi there, it’s Ken Bolt from Brant Florist and years ago, in the 1980s, I was manning the counter at the shop and going about the daily business of things. The door opened and a distraught-looking young man, no more than twenty or thereabouts, came rushing in. He wore the uniform of the Navy and appeared to have only recently come ashore, still carrying his sea bag. His uniform was disheveled and his cap was askew, probably from carrying the heavy-looking bag through the streets, and he was breathing somewhat heavily. He’d obviously been running.
I asked how I could help him and he blurted a disconnected story about a girl, his three month absence from her, rumours of her finding another, and something about a dirty rat. He wanted flowers that would solve his love issues, obviously, and assumed I’d have a magic arrangement potion to cure everything as soon as it was presented.
I chuckled. It didn’t seem like so long ago that I’d been the desperate young man hoping to woo the best girl despite my obvious inadequacies and her being so far out of my league. I told the young man to set down his bag and have a chair so we could talk. “The best flowers are those that not only delight through their look, but appeal because they came from the heart,” I intoned. Most florists have something similar that they say to calm the desperate and get them to take a breather before deciding on an arrangement.
The ensuing conversation taught me a lot about not only this young man, whom I’d never met before, but also the power of the flower arrangement. The story was simple and not exactly original: he’d left on only marginal terms with the girl, after a slight spat, and been gone for about three months. In the mean time, he’d written several letters with no response. Once he put ashore, he heard an immediate rumour that she was seeing another guy. Now he was here with me hoping I could fix it for him.
He told me about his favourite girl, what she was like, how he saw her, and all the dreamy things young people say about one another when love has taken its hold. As we talked, I arranged some gerbera in a simple, straight-forward arrangement that had nothing splashy about it and bespoke pure simplicity of emotion. I presented it to him and he noticed it for the first time.
“No roses?” he asked, dubiously.
“No. Roses are too much for this. You need more subtlety. Gerbera are the way to go.”
He accepted my advice and left with the flowers. The next day, the same young man, this time in street attire, and a beautiful girl with a lovely smile walked into the shop. It turns out, the girl he had been after was indeed seeing another, but her twin sister, upon answering the door and being mistaken for the other, had accepted the flowers and then things had sort of, well, done what they do between young folks. A few years later, I heard about their wedding and knew that things had worked out in that way they always seem to do.
Until next time,
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