Friday morning, ten o’clock. Eight ladies were seated side by side in the activity room. They looked curious as we walked in with the beautiful bouquets in plastic buckets. Esther wore a Navy cap that held down her unruly curls. She saw my friend’s WW II Navy cap and she saluted. They were both about the same age; he turned 90 in July. He saluted back. Two strangers were connected in a way that spoke a special language – the language of a Navy corpsman’s spirit of pride and patriotism. She had been a Navy nurse. He had seen the devastation of war.
He looked each person in the eye with an expression that said ‘You are special.’ And if you had been there, you would have seen that they felt his sincerity, caring and compassion.
He held the black bucket filled with the flowers and said with a big smile, “Pick the one you would like.” Michelle’s expression said, “You’re kidding me, aren’t you?”
Cass said, “But I don’t have any money to pay you.”
I thought happily about the flowers that we had rescued this morning – saved from the fate of going into the dumpster.
Mary, who didn’t have legs said to him, “Can I kiss you?” He leaned in for a kiss on the cheek. She laughed a little bit and smiled.
We sang a few songs together, the eight ladies, Bob and me. They asked him to come back again, “Oh, I’ll be back.” And you know what? We will go back because as we were leaving, we met four other ladies who asked if we had bouquets for them.
And our black buckets were empty. But we both knew where we could go to get the free refills of flowers for our black buckets! Guess that is our assignment for Monday morning, ten o’clock.
I am so glad that he “enlisted” to help me with the flowers.