Thursday, February 14, 2013

White Hyacinths to Feed Our Souls

Friday, February 15, 2013

"If, of thy mortal goods, thou art bereft,
And from thy slender store two loaves
alone to thee are left,
Sell one & from the dole,
Buy Hyacinths to feed the soul"
      - Muslihuddin Sadi,
        13th Century Persian Poet

"If I had but two loaves of bread
I would sell one of them
& buy White Hyacinths to feed my soul."
      - Elbert Hubbard

Richard and I have kind of worked out a deal for Valentine's Day, over the years - he takes me out for a nice dinner at a romantic spot, and I buy flowers ostensibly for him but really for the two of us. He used to try to send flowers to me at school, but somehow the flowers never arrived - so I'd send flowers to him at work, and he'd bring them home for us to share and enjoy.

This year, we're in Melbourne, Australia - we just moved to another guest house (the one we were in could only house us for 2 weeks, so we had to move), and we found a cute little café that wasn't having a special Valentine's menu, so voila, a booking was made. A few doors up, there was the flower shop, ready for us - it was fate!

I wandered in, and chatted with the shop lady - I wanted the lilies, but hesitated because I knew we only had water glasses or coffee mugs in our room, no tall vases. So we settled on a bunch of white hyacinths, and a bunch of pink, which fit beautifully into the water glass on our bureau.

Woke up this morning to collapsed pink hyacinths. The white ones held up but the pinks were just collapsed. I gave them a bit more water, we went off on errands, we came back and the stems were either broken off or bending.

I gathered together all the pinks and walked over to the flower shop. The gentleman recognized me from yesterday, took one look, and said, "Oh no, that shouldn't have happened!" We discussed it - and eventually I left with an armful of lilies (which were almost double the price of one bunch of hyacinths) and a borrowed plastic vase, to be returned in a week or two. At no cost. Because the man knew that the flowers should have held up longer than one night. (He apologized for selling me dodgy hyacinths. Dodgy!)

Big shout out to our neighborhood florist, people who make good on their product and care about their customers:

So our souls are well fed, with white hyacinths AND white lilies - which should bloom all week.

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