Saturday, August 23, 2008

birthday eve

what a day. it started at work where there are two rules about birthdays: no presents, and the birthday person brings the treats. did i mention that opwo and i share the same birthday, but five years apart. so that means two things: extra treats and she will bring me a present.

i brought the same treat i always bring: mini-eclairs from the bakery in The Store. always a big favorite. eileen, who, as the office assistant, feels responsible for successful outcomes in all things, brought veggies and dip as well as mini-cupcakes. the opwo brought fruit tarts from the Bakers de Normandie. i did my best to avoid the veggies and yet have a taste of everything else. i was successful and must say that it was all very satisfying.

while driving home from the bakery, i realized that once again, the opwo would show up with a gift for me--something small--but a gift just the same. and once again, i'd be the one who obeyed the rule and wished she had. i thought about possible small gifts i could give to the opwo, knowing her critical eye for fashion, makeup, acceptable body care products, and i knew i wasn't going to any of those places. then it hit me. what is the thing i have a lot of, the thing that brings me constant joy, the thing that would be as acceptable as anything i could buy? and of course, it is flowers from the gardens.

right now, the black-eyed susans and sunflowers are in full bloom and the russian sage, lavender, and salvia are peaking. of course, there are also many grasses in bloom, so i headed out to the gardens, cut some of each of those flowers and a couple of last-chance daisies, and headed into the house. i started with a mason jar and added some of this and some of that, and when i finished i was seriously proud of our efforts--mother nature and i--both the growing and the arranging. i was a bit concerned that opwo might be allergic to something in the bouquet, or might be averse to golden yellow flowers with blue/purple blossums, and nearly left my creation home, in favor of four pink gerber daisies that were part of a bouquet from jack last week.

But when i left the gardens for work yesterday, i was carrying the yellow and purple lovelies. I sat them on her desk before she arrived and waited. I heard her exclaim when she saw them and then she offered her gift to me, which was a book wrapped with a gold bow and a delightful tiny card that showed a cake with a jeweled candle. As she handed me the book, she said she had truly enjoyed reading the book and was sorry that she had just bent the corner of it in the car.

Next we set out the treats and opwo explained how she had been so busy all morning and had forgotten all about the birthdays and her responsibility to bring treats and all. and that's when i realized she had given me one of her own books. when she handed it to me, i thought it looked like it had been opened a few times, but didn't think anymore about it. But her comments started me wondering, and i thought, really, if someone is going to pass on one of her possessions, something she has truly enjoyed, what better thing than a book? or flowers.

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