I’ve been in Virginia this week working with the two facilities my company has in that state. It’s been a rough week. Long, exhausting days.
In my weakened solitude, I had time to reflect on a couple of matters. I’ll issue posts on the matters one at a time during the coming week.
I did, finally, think of something funny that happened after she passed.
I mean, I can think of a zillion funny things that happened before she passed. I come from a long line of funny. My family is hilarious. We thrive on the ridiculous and absurd. It’s finding humor in this 0 star situation that is the crux of the problem.
As one would expect, my entire family spent the days between her passing and her funeral in a daze. We were lost. We knew the steps that needed to be taken, but we weren’t really there.
Funerals require flowers, and in Gaylord there are two options. “The Good One” and “The Other One”. Obviously, we went to the good one to start.
The women in transit with me poured out of my aunt’s mini van in the two-spot parking lot at the good florist. We herded into their shop and a woman appeared from the back and asked if she could help.
Yes. I need flowers for my daughters funeral this week.
She was surprised and horrified. She disappeared into the back and then came back just as quickly as she was gone.
Please. Come to the back.
We went to the back of the store and were greeted by a very large man wearing a Hawaiian shirt and sitting in a wicker chair. The wicker was holding up by grace alone. He had a very small dog (I think a whippet?) in the wicker chair next to him. We looked at the pair and they looked right back at us. He was a late-issue Marlon Brando and his bucket-midget sitting in the wicker chairs.
I told him I needed flowers for my daughter’s urn.
“Yes” he told me “We do those. It will be $250 to $300 for the urn flowers.”
“I’ll take the $250 option, please” Because I’m not rich. This was going to be an expensive week.
“That’s fine. We do a horse-shoe shape for the urns. What colors do you like?” he asked
“Bright ones, keep the pink to a minimum”
“That’s fine. $250. You can pay me now”
I gave him my credit card and that was it. We spent 5 minutes in the shop and most of that was me staring at the wicker chair tableau with all of the incredulity I had in my body. I was buying flowers for my child’s funeral from this surreal facsimile of a B-movie set actor.
It was a mixed blessing. At one time, I wanted everything to be perfect for her good-bye. It was going to be the formal send-off and I needed this to be as tear-inducing as possible. Flowers are always key. And I had spent a total of 4 minutes on that flower transaction. At the same time, we were all zombies.
We were facsimiles of ourselves looking at a facsimile of a movie scene. It was absurd theater at its very finest.
We arrived at the funeral home a couple of days later. The flowers were there. They were perfect and beautiful. I loved them. Many people commented on the flowers. Later, they were the centerpiece of her Viking funeral pyre because if I’m going to spend $250 on a flower arrangement, I’m going to send them out in a blaze of glory.
I appreciate everything about that transaction. I’m always a fan of brevity. I needed to spend my time doing things that was not picking out flowers and he took that chore from me.
I’m okay with this completely ridiculous scene burned into my brain. And the flowers were just what I needed.
5 stars for the wicker-chair florist and his whippet dog.