Denise's Beautiful Smile

13 February 2009

For a number of years, now, I have looked forward to the Valentine’s Day holiday. Not a big fan of the blatant commercialism that this (or any) manufactured holiday encourages, it’s not because I’m gonna get flowers or diamonds or chocolates or pearls that I love this midwinter holiday.  My reasons for anticipation are related to the fact that we have dear friends who own a floral shoppe. Ken and Denise spend more time at their shoppe, The Rose and Thistle, than they do at home, and Valentines Day is a big deal for them. And each year, for a while now, they have allowed me the privilege of coming to work for them for a couple of days, to soak up a little bit of the love in the air around this holiday.

And I do love the love in the air.

Contrary to Kyle’s perception of St. Valentine’s Day gift-buyers, I spend my couple of days at the Rose and Thistle, helping (mostly men) customers choose that perfect symbol of the love they feel for their spouses and significant others.  Once in a while a guy will come in and make a surly comment about the expectations involved.  But, far, far more often, he is excited about his purchase, and wants only to go home with the best possible thing he can find that he knows his woman will love.  Some are all about the colour—spring flowers and balloons; some are very traditional and want only red roses and white baby’s breath; some want only a simple, single rose, or even a carnation.  But all of them are using Valentine’s Day as a way to express their love.  Sometimes they bring in their personally written poetry to go along with the delivery they order.  Special cards, stuffed animals, her favourite candies, even a ceramic frog figurine to be incorporated into an arrangement, are some of the things we’ve seen guys bring in to go with their flower orders.  One guy came in to pick up his roses wearing a tuxedo, on his way to a date.  Another annual customer comes in each year and buys one more rose for the bouquet than he did the year before, symbolizing the number of Valentine’s Days he has celebrated with his wife.  And twice, we had men come back into the store, at the end of the day, to tell us how beautiful their deliveries had been, and how much their wives had appreciated the beautiful flowers!  That, I contend, is not the attitude of a guy who felt he “had” to give his wife flowers just because it was Valentine’s Day!

I snapped this photo of Denise toward the end of the work day. It was a busy day on very little sleep, but you’d never know it by that smile!  This is one of the sweetest women I know, with a smile that lights up the room.  She’s beautiful inside and out, and I treasure her friendship.