I don’t know – maybe it’s because I’m getting older, or maybe it’s that I spend so much time with my 82-year-old mother who reminisces so much, but I find myself doing the same. Whatever the reason, BBH is grateful that I can share my memories and musings with you.
When I was just 19 my first husband thought it would be a great (?!) idea to open a flower shop.
No, he had never owned a business.
And, no, he didn’t have an ounce of experience with flowers.
- He was married to a fairly creative person, ergo she could ‘figure out’ how to design floral arrangements, and
- There was a lot of profit in flowers, and
- Flower shops didn’t require a lot of start-up capital
My Ex must have had some good qualities, but common sense and sound reasoning were not on that list.
At any rate, we borrowed $10k from his father (Mistake #1) and opened a flower shop. (Mistake #2 thru #397)
That first spring, Mistake #38 took place – I booked my first funeral.
Let me set the stage for this comedy of errors, not the least of which was I had absolutely no experience in arranging flowers for funerals.
One quiet day in the shop (heck, they were ALL quiet days in those early months!) my landlord walks in with a huge smile on his face, accompanied by his less than jovial wife.
“I have a huge job for you!” he pronounced. “I want you to handle ALL the flowers for my wife’s mother’s funeral.”
I grabbed my order pad and did my darnedest to act nonchalant, as if funeral orders were a regular, everyday occurrence, as if any order was a regular occurrence!
“We’ll need the casket spray, of course. All red roses.”
“Yes, of course,” I nodded, as I wrote down Red Rose Casket Spray.
“And one Bleeding Cross, two Bleeding Hearts . . .”
Uh-oh. I knew I was in trouble here. Fortunately, it was a feeling I was getting used to, after opening a florist shop while barely knowing the difference between a rose and a carnation, not to mention how to arrange the dang things into some semblance of design.
I just kept writing the orders, filling in the little spaces on the preprinted paper.
“Where is the service?” I inquired, being careful not to make eye contact, lest my total bewilderment about how to make flowers ‘bleed’ be revealed.
“Culjis & Sons,” my landlord replied, confident I was familiar with one of Sacramento’s oldest, and most reputable, funeral homes.
“And when is the service,” I asked with my most solicitous tone.
“Oh, she hasn’t died yet. I just wanted to give you a heads-up that it’s coming. Soon.”
I really can’t remember what I responded to this, but I’m pretty sure I had to pick my lower jaw up off the ground.