Gary Bought Mom an Orchid for Her Birthday & I Still Have It

Gary Bought Mom an Orchid for Her Birthday & I Still Have It

Every silver & silk floral I fashion, I have a good giggle about. I’ll let you in on why these make me smile.


It all started around the time that Mom was coming to terms with aging and becoming her most authentic self just before her 90th birthday and I got an angry call letting me know she DID NOT WANT A LIVE PLANT THIS TIME. She had just moved to get rid of her darn balcony so she wouldn't have to keep watering those damn tomatoes I kept giving her.

OK - then! I did NOT know this! I had my marching orders.

Who knows what Gary gave her that year but I gave her a silk orchid and when I told her it was made of silk, as she was opening it, she became overly enthusiastic and might have even forgotten Gary was there. I was pleasantly embarrassed for him.

Fast forward a year to her 91st birthday as Mom's becomes the proud owner of a second orchid. You can cut the tension in the room like a knife through flourless, double-chocolate cake. Gary turns to me as Mom opens his gift. He misses her half smile and she doesn’t realize Gary’s smile is so big together theirs now total two full smiles.

I triumph without trying.

Then I start getting the calls. "What do I do?"

I google and tell her to sit two ice cubes on the soil once a week. I am her hero.

A month or so later she asks if it was one ice cube every two weeks or two ice cubes every week.

"Why what’s wrong with it?", I ask.

"Nothing. It’s just not growing. He’s going to think I’m not taking care of it."

oh - here's a pic of it, leaning in, beside my head ... I'm waving!

Why she didn't just tell him she didn't want it, I'll never know? He would have gotten her something else.

Then I got the panic call. Gary was coming for an actual visit. She wasn't just meeting him somewhere. He was coming. He would see it. What was she going to do! No new flowers, not even a hint of a bud to show for all that work.

"It's alive. It hasn't died.", I remind her.

He’s no fool. He forgets nothing. He’s got a photographic memory. He will know exactly how many flowers were on it. She said she could move the tall chair in front of the window which would hide it a bit and she could pull the curtain a little closed - he might not see it.

"And he won't remember where the chair was ... what will you say when he asks why did you put it over there? Surely it will just call more attention to the window and he'll head straight to it!", I respond.

She hung up.

Two hours later I got a call. She was exhausted ... had flopped into her chair after she'd made a cup of tea but wanted me to fill me in on the latest. She’d dug out his card and found the tag showing where he'd bought it ... called a taxi and gone to the florist and asked them what she should do. They told her it was a silk orchid.

I waited until about a year after she died to tell him. And if I ever get to see him again, I’ll bring it to him.

Some of you know the story about how he was stranded at sea, just outside the Bahamas, when the pandemic began. It's a good story. For those who don't, I’ll write about it another time.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.