When I was in high school, I somehow wrangled my first real job in driving a delivery truck for Baseview Floral after school and weekends. I made a whopping $1.25/hour, which was big money back then! The flower shop was located just outside the air base, and so the major chunk of deliveries were to the homes on base.
It might have been the best job of my life. I drove an old green van that had a big box in the back with crisscrossing ropes creating little tight squares that would keep the arrangements from dumping over when I was stopping or turning a corner. One of the reasons it was such a great job was that when I would come up to a door with a load of flowers, I was always met with a smile and lots of thanks. No one was ever angry to get flowers! Also, being a red-blooded American teenage boy, it was lots of fun to hand flowers to the attractive and cute junior officers’ wives. Like I said, it was a great job.
Of course, the deliveries changed depending on the year. At Thanksgiving and Christmas, there were always tons of table displays, so the van smelled like pine trees for a few weeks. The biggest day, or couple of days, of course, in the year were the days right around and including Valentine’s Day. Roses, roses, roses. I would even get pressed into service to unpack the huge cardboard crates that would be delivered to the shop that held the dozens of various colors of roses, and greens and baby’s breath. They even taught me how to cut the end off the rose at an angle, and then carefully shave the thorns off. I was quite the renaissance man…
One year, as it appeared to be sizing up to be an extraordinary holiday, the shop ran two delivery vans. My best friend Greg and I were given a rental to drive, which was an old – very old – U-Haul van, with a push button transmission. It was a long time ago when the van actually ran with any kind of smooth drive. We would take turns, with one of us driving, and the other one leaping out and delivering a bouquet, and then on to the next stop. We learned quickly that the only way to keep the van from slamming forward was to never put it in park, so you never had to push button shift out of it. We’d pull up to a house, one of us would jump out, and the other would remain in the driver’s seat with both feet smashed on the brake, since it had the tendency to keep creeping forward.
It was quite the trick when we had to actually shift to park, and then out of it again. That required a great deal of leg strength, as the driver would have to almost stand on the brake, and then carefully push the button into gear. If we were lucky, the van would only moderately slam forward. Remember the flowers in the box in the back – if we didn’t push down hard enough, the bouquets, almost like a Walt Disney cartoon, would in a giant ensemble rock the flowers forward, and then back again with the same ferocious motion. We carried a pitcher of water in the event that one of the arrangements would be successful in escaping the box, so we could refill the vase and resettle the flowers into what was fairly close to the way they looked before the U-Haul earthquake hit.
Like I said – a great job, and on Valentine’s day, we were more than likely to get hugs from the wives, and sometimes even some pretty good tips. I do have to say I kind of miss those days, when the job was simple, the results easily seen, and when the day was over, the job was done. As a pastor and a superintendent for more than 40 years, I don’t think there was a single day in that career where I worked with those parameters.
So, with Valentines tomorrow, and Cheri and I agreeing not to give each other anything, I of course ordered a dozen roses to be delivered to her office on Tuesday, so she would have three days to enjoy them there, and then bring them home for the weekend. You see, I don’t consider flowers a “present” in the strictest sense, any more than a dinner out, or a nice kiss in the kitchen. Those are just the trappings of the holiday, in my opinion.
I ordered reddish orange roses, with lots of baby’s breath and such. One of the nice parts of sending flowers is that it gives Cheri, who normally doesn’t get much of a fuss over her, the chance to be the object of jealousy and envy – in a good way. Cheri has always worked in offices full of women, and so it’s always fun to imagine her getting called up to the front desk to claim her bouquet…
Of course, we are still sitting with -10 to -20 air temperatures, so on Thursday, when she went to bring them home, they had to wrap the things in layers and layers of tissue paper, and covered with a plastic bag, just to get them the ten steps to the car, and then 15 steps into the house. Due to the “cat” situation, the only safe place to put the flowers is high up on the mantle, where the cats can’t climb and tear the arrangement apart. We opened the flowers, and suddenly I was hit by an incredible aroma, and rose scent that filled the room. As I reacted, Cheri said, “Yeah – imagine them in my little office – I was woozy all week!”
So now the roses stand tall, emanating the still surprisingly strong aroma of Valentines Day. They won’t last for long – that’s what makes them so valuable, but for me, it’s a nice way to tell my bride that I love her, and to enjoy this season as well.
What do you do on purpose to show your love? It doesn’t have to be romantic, if that’s not the relationship – but when we are intentional in offering some form of love to others, it too fills the room with a wonderful atmosphere. It brightens the day, and removes, at least for a little while, the burden or the struggle that a day might bring. When we share the love we have in a right way, meaning and intending to do so, I can also nearly guarantee that it will be met with joy and with gratitude, that we cared enough to offer that to another person in our lives. Part of living a significant life is to live a life of significant love as well. Enjoy the weekend.
Word for the day: tmesis. Pronounced tuh-MEES-us. It’s a word that describes other words. From the Greek temnein, meaning “to cut.” Tmesis is the process by which you take one word, and “cut” it apart, and insert another word inside of it, just to create a greater emphasis. Unfortunately, very often when it inserted is a foul word, or even profane one. Tmesis is rarely if ever used by eloquent speakers in normal conversation. However, when Liza Doolittle sings, “Oh, so lovely sitting abso-blooming-lutely still…” you get the idea. It also seems to be a British commoner or American wild west usage, mostly. Words like “Fan-bloody-tastic,” or (excuse the example) “La-di-freaking-dah.” There of course is an art to using tmesic methods, and I would guess it also requires a pretty good imagination. Just be careful with it!
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.