This & That

Spotting the guilty buying roses at a grocery store

Most people here in the Midwest don’t think of anything growing in the desert. They envision only sand, cactuses (cacti?), and scorpions. While that may be true of a lot of the state, though not of the northern part in the mountains, my hometown of Yuma is different. More than scorpions, we had cockroaches and black widows.

Yuma was founded because of its location on the Colorado River at its narrowest point. The river divides Arizona and California and flows into Mexico. (The border is about 15 minutes from Yuma.) The river brings water from the north to the desert, allowing agriculture to thrive in Yuma, the “lettuce capitol of the world.”

My dad waged war with the grueling desert sun until his dying day. The water bill was always outrageous, but the lawn was green most of the year. And his roses flourished. On Saturday mornings Dad would often pick a rose and bring it in, thorns removed, to my mother. As a teenager, taking the cue from Dad, I’d cut a rose for a girlfriend, sometimes just leaving it at her door.

The Hopeful, the Guilty, and the Appreciative

I was at a grocery store recently and saw a young woman returning to her car with but a single flower. I wondered who she planned to give it to. A boyfriend? Her mother? A close friend?

I often wonder when I see someone buying flowers. What’s their story? You can tell sometimes:

  • If a guy is wearing ironed jeans and too much cologne, he has a first or second date that night.
  • If a guy looks forlorn and guilty, he’s trying to make up with his significant other.
  • If he looks excited, he might be anticipating the bouquet secures him some … uh, attention.
  • If he’s wearing sweatpants and is also purchasing milk, bread, and eggs, and maybe some Excedrin, he has suddenly remembered how much he appreciates the mother of his children.

Discount Flowers

I love florists in grocery stores. I know the quality of the plants and flowers is not nearly as good as what you can get at a floral shop. And neither is the customer service, usually. But I appreciate the convenience and, really, the reminder.

In the early years of our marriage, Cindy would often echo Barbra Streisand’s sentiment: “You don’t bring me flowers …” Because I didn’t. I’d forgotten how I’d courted her and won her—with my dad’s free roses. But thanks to the florist at the Kroger at Monroe and Secor, I started occasionally picking out a dozen roses when making a stop for milk, bread, and eggs. But because her usual response wasn’t “Oh, thank you; you’re so sweet” but “Can we afford these?” I had to convince her they were discounted. I’d leave the price tag on. (When you buy flowers that have a sticker price tag, you know they’re discounted.)

This is why I don’t think I’ve ever bought Cindy flowers on Valentine’s Day. The markup is crazy due to much demand. No demand on Valentine’s Day at our house. Cindy loves the gesture but appreciates the frugality of discounted flowers. In Toledo, I often stopped at Bartz-Viviano for their monthly special. If Aldi sold flowers, I’d buy them there.

The flowers may be discounted but not my devoted love and appreciation. Sorry, that was a little too Nicholas Sparksish.

Guys, how long’s it been since bought your lady some flowers? If she’s clipping coupons for roses or forwarding you emails from ftd.com, it may have been awhile. Also, ladies, what do you get your husbands? Flowers, beer, batteries for the remote?

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