Saturday, December 3, 2016

He brought roses


I was sitting at the bar at Vaughan's Lounge, in anticipation of a musical set by Corey Henry and the Treme Funktet. I was with some girlfriends, C. and J., hanging out. The crowd was building, and the place was getting busy. The door buzzer rang, the bartender pressed the button, and someone came in. He was at my shoulder. A greeting kiss and hug - that's how they do it here in New Orleans.

And then he held out a rose to me.

A florist's rose, a large-flowered hybrid tea. The bud with petals still tightly furled, just beginning to open. Like a Valentine's Day tribute only this one was a subtle mauve tipped with crimson on the edge of the petals. Faded from use, but still lovely. The stem was cut short - maybe six inches at the most.

My friend works for a floral and special event company. They have been busy for the holiday season. He had just got off work and had salvaged some blooms from a display. He gave C. and J. rose blossoms as well (J.'s boyfriend filled an empty Abita bottle with water to serve as a vase), and there were still five or six clutched in his hand.

Wholesale roses at the L.A. Flower Market
My friend is a working man, serious and dark, and usually wearing a Saints jersey, jeans, and a pair of sunglasses pushed up on his head. Kind of a badass. The hand that clutched the bouquet was calloused from hard work. I said to him, "I love the way you look, holding a bouquet of roses in your hand."

He said, "There were more when I started. I was walking through the French Quarter and handing them out to people who looked like they should have one. You know - a lady here, a couple there."

Fading but still lovely
Who got the remaining roses that night, I don't know, although I am sure they were just as charmed as I was. I tucked my rose into my neck scarf, and put it in water when I got home.

I love this city.

4 comments:

Jenny said...

great post
I love NO, too

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...

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Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Your friend sounds like a very kind soul.

Rebeckah Leatherman said...

This is such a charming story. Flowers can make the most serious among us beam with joy.