Writer’s Workshop: My Flower Bouquet

Mama’s Losin’ ItThis weeks writing prompt: What types of flowers would be in a bouquet that best describes you?

Of course I had to write for this prompt. I am surrounded by buckets of flowers every day. I have been for the last fifteen plus years, off and on. Miller’s Florist is like my second home. I started working there when I was in high school. I grew up there. I raised my first two babies there. I was lucky to be able to bring them to work with me.

But as I think of this prompt, it is hard. What flowers would best describe a bouquet about me?  

I design floral arrangements everyday. I could do it in my sleep. The flowers don’t always talk to me. They are my tools, part of the business. When you are around them everyday, you forget to notice each one’s uniqueness and individuality.

So at work while I was thinking of this prompt, I started to pay more attention. The buds and blooms softly call my attention; soft and silvery lamonium, each million star of babies breath, weedy and wild solidago, daisies, carnations, lilies, roses, and that last hydrangea that is begging me to use it for a nice and expensive bouquet. Rose petals fold around each other like a perfect piece of artwork.

They wait in the cooler, some of their heads tangled together, some of them standing in bunches, waiting to be grabbed, cut, and sent out.

A white larkspur leans in the green bucket, waiting to be included in a tall vase. Long viney buds fly away in crazy green spirals from its base. Maybe I can be a larkspur. I have lots of little ones surrounding me all of the time.  I’m not tall, but I’m skinny again (finally! three babies in two years takes a while to lose that weight). 

I asked Connie, What flowers do you think represent you? If you were a bouquet, what would be in it?”

“I love heather. That is one of my favorites,” she said. “I like lilies, too. They open up like arms for a hug. They are versatile. You can put them in an everyday arrangement or you can dress them up.”

“That is it,” we both said at the same time.

“Definitely you. You can fit in anywhere,” I laughed.

Hmmmm….what flowers are in my bouquet?

I am everything.

I am the droopy headed asters when I’m tired, but always with a sunny middle and smile.

I am big thick sunflowers standing in the sun. I have a strong and sturdy base.

I am zinnias that grow wild in my garden. I tend to go every which way in a flurry of color and excitement.

I am delicate violets who thrive in the light. I like lots of attention, but can be left alone on the window sill and thrive, just like these fuzzy leaved plants.

I am a venus fly trap who captures and makes its own food. I can make a meal (edible, but not delicious) out of just about anything.

I am versatile. I am unique. I am a wildflower bouquet with a little bit of this, and a lot of that, and put in some of this… a little bit of everything. You just have to look real close. You never know what you may find.

xxx

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Grandma Jean’s Story

“Grandma Jean’s Story”

It was a perfect day at the beach. A light salty breeze blew the rim of my Grandma’s big sun hat, threatening to blow it out to sea. She pulled it down harder on her head with both hands and tied the pink ribbon under her chin with a tight loopy bow. I love the way her hands look, paper-thin with old freckles blotching the tops of them. She had delicate hands, artist’s hands, that would never harm you. She would often pat my back or rub my arms, telling me how much she loves me and how good I am. She was so soft and kind.

Her fingers were unique. I remember studying them when I was little. The very tips of two of her fingers on her right hand were slightly gone, giving them a claw like appearance. The nails curled around her skin and grew close, protecting an old injury. They were still pretty hands. They were hers.

She lost them while driving a bus. It broke down when she opened the hood, I think a belt cut them off. I wish I would have listened to that story more closely. She’s not here to tell it anymore. Even though she wasn’t one to go on about an old story; she just lived and loved all her kids, grandkids, and great grandkids with all her heart.

Grandma Jean, North Carolina

“Hunny, we need to get you a big hat like this. You should always wear a hat out in the sun to protect your face. You have such beautiful skin.”

“Okay, Grandma,” I said, pacifying her. At that time I would never be caught dead wearing a thing like that; silk hot pink flowers tucked around the ribbon. I was 23.

It’s 6 am and I’m not sure why I’m up so early. I have never seen the sunrise over the ocean before, at least not that I could remember. Still, it’s so early but I dragged my butt out of bed to go with grandma.

She always found the best treasures on the beach early in the morning. Large conch shells, small colorful shells that looked like gems in the sand, and perfect driftwood that was smooth and worn from the crashing waves. We once dragged half a tree across the beach and through many states just to get it home for her.

It’s been years and the driftwood is still around, propped up against pots of geraniums and petunias on the back porch. Unfortunately grandma is not here, but she left us with perfect memories.

We would spend several weeks on the North Carolina beach. The whole family packed into a beach house. One of my favorite memories is Grandma insisting that she was just going to sit in the sand and let the waves swish over her feet. “Okay, Grandma. We’re going to go swim and play around in the sand.”

A while later we noticed Grandma waving her big ol’ bonnet above her head as if she was trying to flag down a plane. “Kids! Help! Come here!”  High tide was coming in and the waves were almost to her waist. We ran and helped her up before she was washed out to sea. That is the thing I loved about her. She may not have the best mobility, but she enjoyed herself and lived in the moment. I love her for that.

Even the memories that embarrassed me at age 8 are treasures now. My grandma always took my sister, cousin, and me to the grocery store. It was not uncommon for us to be several aisles over with grandma yelling for us, “Amanda, where are you guys at? Do you want chicken for supper?” What were we supposed to do, yell back over the aisles? Instead, we rushed back over so she wouldn’t get to aisle ten and be yelling across the whole store. I think it’s hilarious now. It’s just grandma.

I need to go buy myself a big hat with a floppy brim. I would not be embarassed to wear it now. She taught me so much. I miss her.

xxx

This post is part of Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writing Workshop. You can read her immensely entertaining blog by clicking here.

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