Flowers Equal Smiles


“Flores igual sonríe,” that’s what I said to the flower seller making easy sale after easy sale out in front of a county building where I stood waiting for my sister yesterday to discuss my father’s situation with an official kind of person. “Yes,” the flower seller replied, smiling, a man who appeared understandably pleased by his work.

(My father is improving; it’s slow. Most things are slow at nearly 93, except time; I think, for my pop, it’s moving at an uncomfortable staccato pace that he can’t predict nor keep up with.)

Flores igual sonríe because none of the many people approaching the flower-man with money in hand addressed him in English and flores igual sonríe because they do. With the overwhelm and confusion inherent in being a daughter of an old man stuck in a hospital and confused about it, witnessing flowers equaling smiles was a particularly healing sight.

The flower seller’s white bucket was stuffed with a brilliant array—orange protea; purple stock; red roses; the bright pink, wide-open faces of gerber daisies; and lacy carnations. When a woman asked for a particular flower color, the flower seller dashed off to his truck, returning with exactly what she wanted. Everyone was smiling, even the building guard who offered to help those uncertain about which bouquet to choose.

When it was our turn inside at the desk, there the upright purple stock stood behind the clerk, with their clove-like spicy smell making our interaction smoother. How weighted down can a person feel when surrounded by people happy with their flowers? I wanted to bring home that bouquet of orange pincushion protea but the flower seller had moved on to another location by then. I didn’t really mind; it was good to know that he was bringing more smiles to more people. That, along with my father’s voice sounding stronger, was plenty.