My flower bed by the front sidewalk was raided yesterday. I was preparing to issue an all-points bulletin for a young female, about 99cm and 15.9kg, when the perp appeared in the kitchen. She was wearing a pink dress, coy smile and holding her loot (pale yellow daffodils) in a tight grip.
I was about to ask if she wanted a vase, when another potential suspect saddled up to me asking for the scissors from the kitchen utensil drawer. They’re shears that can cut through a chicken’s backbone. ‘No, you may not have kitchen shears and cut your fingers off. What do you want to do?’
‘I’ll show you,’ she says, leading me by the hand.
I follow her outside and she begins placing an order like she’s at a fast-food drive-through. ‘I’d like two choke-us (crocus), three star flowers and are there any of those mad-nolias? You know, the big flowers that grow on the trees?’ (She meant magnolias.)
There’s no point in asking if she wants a vase either. They both know, in our house, flowers are not for keeping, but for giving.
Oh, and by the way, because they love picking spring flowers, they wouldn’t mind if I beefed up the crop and planted a few hundred more next year.
My mother kept a huge flower garden with rows and rows of bulbs and rhizomes. Every spring, when she took down a purple vase with colourful swirls from a top shelf, I knew it was cutting time. She cut huge bouquets for me to take to my teacher. I’m not saying my mother bought my good grades, I think they were earned, but it never hurts to have a little insurance. My mother considered it a seasonal kindness, I looked at it as extra credit.
Off I’d go to school, the shortest kid in class, whose face and upper torso were obscured by a mass of tulips, daffodils and iris that smelled like grape soda pop. The entire mass bounced and jostled with my every step and yellow pollen streaked my clothes. Iris can be quite aggressive.
The teacher would take the flowers, ooh and ahh, and display them prominently on her desk. They would remain there until the petals dropped, the stems bowed and the bouquet shrivelled. As quick as the teacher would send the vase home, my mother would reload it with more blooms. I was like a delivery service without a panel truck.
It was a delight to deliver the flowers, because the teacher’s face always turned into a giant smile. I don’t mind raids on my flower beds these days because it means someone else is going to be surprised and happy.
The one who made the most recent raid is standing next to me with her heist wrapped in a wet paper towel.
‘Going to surprise someone?’ I ask.
She nods yes.
‘Who?’ I ask, as if I don’t know.
She looks around, leans close and whispers: ‘Mom.’