On the Eve of Valentines I Remember.....
|My Shop's Signature Bouquet|
Valentine's Day used to make me tremble. You see, I once owned a flower shop, and it has taken years to get over the nightmares. Only in the last few years have I been able to walk through a store with red roses on display. The sixteen hour days, standing ankle deep in cut stems and floral debris, still haunt my dreams occasionally.
The worst nightmare was being in a wreck on the way to delivering funeral or wedding arrangements. The nightmare happened, twice. Once on the way to a wedding, but thankfully it was only a minor accident and not a single arrangement toppled over. The one on Valentine's Day however, totaled my truck. Oh those were the days....
There were however, happy moments, moments that I will remember the rest of my life. A grieving family so touched by the floral arrangements they hugged me. The last minute bridal bouquet and boutonniere for a couple marrying in her mother's hospital room. Delivering bouquets to work places for anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays. I loved seeing the recipient's faces, both men and women. One year on Valentine's day, my oldest son offered to deliver for me. He arrived in a suit. I received multiple phone calls asking if they ordered more flowers, would he come back?
At the time he was "moonlighting" as a sheriff's deputy when he wasn't delivering for me. I am one lucky mom, right? Yes, all the ladies thought so.
I was also blessed by my daughter, Danielle Bentley Diaz. She and I worked together the entire time I owned the shop. A very talented designer and one of my most dedicated, loyal employees. She was the opposite of the old adage, "Don't work with family." To this day, I still thank her for all of her hard work. When the big holidays come around, we call each other and mention how glad we are not to be in the flower shop.
Besides the work, I also went through several Valentine's Days after becoming a widow - twice. It's is bad enough seeing all the hoopla everywhere in all the stores, even worse to spend the entire day writing all the "I love you" cards and arranging bouquets for other happy couples. It was acute agony. I wasn't alone. Many others do not have a reason to celebrate the holiday for a variety of reasons. My heart goes out to each one.
Also, I felt great empathy for the parade of men dashing around in a panic trying to find the most suitable expression of their love. At three o'clock in the afternoon, they'd buy almost anything. However, my husband didn't dare buy me flowers, especially roses for ten years after I sold the shop. Now, I enjoy arranging them again - once in a while.
As with all things, owning the shop proved to be a mix of good memories and nightmares. I now choose to remember the sweet ones, and let the others go. It's time.
Below are some of my favorite bouquets.