Friday, June 05, 2020

Dried flowers

I have been thinking a lot about my childhood and my siblings.
I'm remembering stories and experiences,
  particularly with my brother Topher because he won't be on
this earth with us much longer, 
and all I can think to do is remember and write.

When I was 10 years old, my cousin Katie and I decided to turn
our backyard playhouse into a dried flower business.
We called it "The Flower Pit."
Katie and I spent a whole week one summer painting the playhouse
from its original brown color to light blue, maroon red, and bright yellow.  
My sister Page had just built a home and graciously gave us
her leftover (inside!) paint for our new storefront.

We'd pick roses from abandoned homes, our own backyards,
and at night, we'd walk to where our church building was
and snip a few from the many bushes (they had purple ones!!).
We would come back to The Flower Pit and immediately tie
the roses with Mom's cooking twine upside down from 
nails we pounded into the walls.  
They would dry in the hot playhouse for over a week while we
gathered more flowers for future bouquets.
My mom and Katie's mom bought flowers from us, and we
probably badgered our poor church leaders to buy our creations, too.
Of course, we gave a bouquet to Page for letting us use her paint
and as a housewarming gift for her new house.  I'm sure she was thrilled.
On my wedding day in 2000, she re-gifted the bouquet back to me!
She had kept the dried, dusty, crumbly, and faded bouquet for nearly 10 years,
moving it to several homes and states as her family grew. 

One summer day, I was upstairs in my room and
 Christopher walked in and asked me if 
The Flower Pit was still open for business.
Then he told me he had just been promoted to manager of a 
clothing store downtown Provo, and just like a true Clark,
he wanted to add some decorations to the store.

Then he "ordered" 4 dried flower bouquets.
I was in shock.
He pulled out his wallet and handed me 40 bucks, which 
was like one million dollars as a kid.
I think right then and there, I rode my bike to the church, where I cut
dozens of flowers to start his order.
Then I drove to the secret store (which is what we called the
BYU married housing grocery store)
and I bought myself a chocolate donut to celebrate.
I had just landed the deal of the century!
Finally, my work was being noticed!

A few weeks after I delivered the flowers to him, 
he invited me into the store to see the bouquets
on the shelves next to a bowl of scrunchies and the
 store's tape cassette player.  I felt so proud.
Having Christopher buy those flowers from me gave me confidence
in myself at such a young age.
 I felt smart, valued, and loved by my big brother.  
Growing up, Christopher never teased me or made me feel stupid.
He has always been very supportive, and I love him so much for that.

*Stay tuned for the story of when Topher made me
a pair of super cool culottes with giant colorful fish on them.
(I wish I had my photos of The Flower Pit!
All my photos are still packed away).
* * * 
Spiritual Enlightenment: A Perfect Brightness of Hope
"May we hope for schools where students are 
taught—not terrified they will be shot—and for the gift of 
personal dignity for every child of God, unmarred by any form 
of racial, ethnic, or religious prejudice. 
Undergirding all of this is our relentless hope for greater 
devotion to the two greatest of all commandments: 
to love God by keeping His counsel and to love our neighbors
 by showing kindness and compassion, patience and forgiveness.
 These two divine directives are still—and forever will be—the 
only real hope we have for giving our children
 a better world than the one they now know."

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