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Flower Delivery

protea & other tropicals

My 1st job as a college student in Hawaii was at a boutique-type flower shop making leis and flower deliveries in an upscale mall less than 2 miles from my dorm. It took me less than 15 minutes plus 2 quarters by The Bus to get there, or I could take a brisk walk and make it in half-an-hour. Usually I took The Bus (that is literally the name of the public bus system) because it was handy and extremely efficient. Anywhere on the island of Oahu could be reached by The Bus for 50-cents each way. Although I’d begged my Daddy for a car, when he visited me he went with me to all of the places that I would ever need or want to go to….then he declared that I did NOT need a car because The Bus was well-suited for anything that I’d need it for.

The flower shop owner was, at the time, the top designer in the entire state and was much in demand for weddings as well as office and resort floral displays. This kept him very busy jetting to the other islands, and he was only at the store during business hours a couple of times per week to check on bookings. Those of us working there basically answered the phones, helped the walk-in customers, and constantly made leis of every kind. The boss had several gigantic coolers of beautiful tropical floral displays that were ‘sold out’ daily. Somehow, as if by magic, the coolers were refilled with dozens of new ‘creations’ by the next morning. Our boss was amazing at creating unique designs….the prices were expensive but the guests did not complain.

Our boss also had another business, a limousine service. The fleet of limos only had Silver Cloud Rolls Royces! Part of my job was to make flower deliveries. IF the boss gave me a large delivery AND ALSO had me deliver it by limo, then I knew that the flowers were going to a V.I.P. The limo driver, of course, wasn’t telling me where we were going. Usually we didn’t get to actually meet any celebrities. If the deliveries were made to a luxury hotel, then the flowers and I only made it as far as the Concierge. If the flowers were going to an individual’s personal home, usually a mansion or mini-mansion, then a maid or butler would take the flowers and I’d get a decent tip. I could drive up and down the streets of Kahala and Black Point and Aina Haina; also around Diamond Head and all the way up the ‘Gold Coast’ and point out the homes of every celebrity if I’d wanted to. But usually that didn’t excite me anymore because, with the exception of Cher, most of them were not especially what I would call NICE.

Usually my boss didn’t take me along with him to help set up for weddings and I didn’t particularly enjoy it anyway because of a nasty motorcyle-riding has-been celebrity, whom I won’t name, that made it not at all fun. Besides, I never did like those quickie Hawaiian weddings that folks do on the spur-of-the-moment because it’s not the way I was raised (to honor and sanctify marriage). Naturally, this was a huge money-maker for my boss tho! One of my favorite set-ups, however, was at Christmas. There were dozens of large banks and other office buildings that hired us to totally transform their lobbies into a Christmas wonderland, and it had to be done overnight so that their employees would come in the next day to see the ‘magic’ that had taken place. That was so much fun! My favorite was the 3-story Christmas tree that we erected totally out of red poinsettia plants. It was awesome. Lotsa folks don’t realize that most of the potted poinsettia plants that we buy at Christmastime on the mainland come from flower farms on the Big Island of Hawaii. My boss had a couple of plane-loads of plants for making these trees. The ingenuity and the work that went into making this happen was great to be a part of!

My best memory of my short stint working in the flower delivery business was the time when I had to deliver the biggest bouquet of daisies and roses that I’d ever seen. It’d seemed unusual that there weren’t any tropical flowers in the arrangement but this was an Anniversary bouquet for an older couple and supposedly was ‘their usual’ except that every year the bouquet would get larger. The bouquet was soooo big that my boss’ wife was assisting me in delivering it because I couldn’t handle it alone! So we got into 1 of the large Silver Clouds and the driver headed into Kahala. I asked where we were delivering and the boss’ wife and the driver just smiled. I knew then that it’d be yet another celebrity. We pulled into a circular driveway and started to the door with the bouquet. I wondered if it’d be a maid or a butler that answered, as usual. I was surprised when the door opened….I stood there speechless, mouthing words that wouldn’t come out! The older gentleman smiled that familiar-but-devious smile and said “Yes, I am Vincent Price. Do come in.” He laughed THAT laugh as we sat the lovely bouquet on the antique table in his round foyer. He was nicer than any of the other celebrities I’d met while in Hawaii, thus far, and he gave me a $50 tip!

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April Fools!

ImageChildren always seem to have so much fun on April Fools Day. It’s a day of silliness and merriment that may or may not be much of a joy to teachers but at least the younger students have quite a bit of fun throughout the day. As the students get into the upper grades the tricks often get nastier and the pranks might not have the desired ‘end result’, sending some of the more devious students (who….me? couldn’t be!) to the Principal’s office for some explanation with hopes of avoiding detention.

Can we blame our parents? Oh yes, in my particular case, I certainly can! I grew up in a home that was fun-loving. Thanks to my Mama, my brothers and I knew joy, honesty, and happiness. Thanks to my Daddy, we knew about getting along with all kinda folks, laughing a lot, and when it was time for seriousness. Both of our parents took us to church, along with Gramma and Grandpa Joe, and that’s where we got a strong sense of a decent faith that’s loving but not overly-strict. My parents were the very best parents that God could possibly have chosen for me. They were Friendly, they were Happy, they were Cheerful….so was I. So AM I! But my Daddy and his friends could definitely play jokes on each other, usually much to the exasperation of my Mama! They always made it a point to ‘one-up’ each other too, so we never quite knew what to expect….except that we COULD expect something interesting!

When pregnant with my 1st child, I was asked permission to test a new kind of ultrasound for free. Of course I agreed, even though it meant that my bare belly was exposed to 8 OB/GYNs crowded around that table that I was lying upon while the technician slowly explained every step to all of these doctors (he was trying to make sales!). My own doctor announced that everything was A-OK during the ultrasound. I definitely wanted a boy but the baby’s legs were crossed and the sex couldn’t be determined so I had to wait until delivery to find that out. But my doctor said that the baby would be born on schedule….April 1st. OH NO! I told the doctor that I was NOT, under any circumstances, having an ‘April Fools’ baby! Eight doctors and an Ultrasound Technician/Salesman got quite a few chuckles outa that but I was serious. My own doctor patted my hand and told me that babies tend to have their own timetable and come out whenever they are ready! Well, he DIDN’T come out on April Fool’s Day and I was extremely glad about that. But he took 3 more weeks of making me wait for his debut so I should’ve suspected right away that this was going to be a child that was always gonna do things his own way!

It’s a lot of fun playing April Fools jokes on your kiddies when they’re little, and then pretending to be shocked and/or surprised at whatever they come up with when they ‘get you back’! Then when they start school, they’re getting a bit wiser to these tricks so I figured out that the best time to play my tricks on them was early in the morning before they’d really had much time to think about it. They weren’t fully awake until after breakfast so this was usually MY prime time for April Fools jokes. What fun we’d have during this one day each year. I sooooo enjoyed this and I’m sure that they did also. The only problem was: I’d get a great April Fools trick on each of my kids, and I’d get them first….but then they’d have the entire day away from me with time to think of a clever comeback!