The strains of Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond singing, “You don’t bring me flowers anymore…. You don’t sing me love songs…” drifted into my room via the radio.
The lyrics, designed to rip one’s heart out, matched my mood that cold, dreary January morning. I wrapped the poignant words around my heart as I dressed for an early morning speaking engagement. How true, I thought — the last time David brought me flowers was twenty-five years ago, when our youngest son Bob was born.The lyrics, designed to rip one’s heart out, matched my mood that cold, dreary January morning. I wrapped the poignant words around my heart as I dressed for an early morning speaking engagement. How true, I thought — the last time David brought me flowers was twenty-five years ago, when our youngest son Bob was born.
This morning David had already left for work in our more reliable car. I bundled up against the cold and headed out for the dreaded task of starting the old Chrysler. The beast normally took great offense at the cold and refused to start without coaxing. To start it, one had to find the lever inside the grill to release the hood, lift it, and then find the stick to prop it open. Next, one had to remove the wing nut from the big round thing, take it off, push the little copper thing, get back inside the car and start it. If it went “Pfft,” one had to go back outside and push the copper thing again. If it started coughing and then actually turned over, one had to get out, put the big round thing back on, screw the wing nut tightly, hold up the hood while putting the holder stick back, and then shut the hood. By this time one’s hands were usually pretty dirty.
I decided to try to start the car first, to see how bad it really was. I slid behind the steering wheel and turned the key. Varoom!In spite of the cold it started right up! My goodness, listen to that, I thought. David must have warmed the car for me before he left for work. How nice of him. I was ready to back out, when I heard an inner voice say, “Go back and thank him for the flowers.”
“What? Thank him for the flowers?”
“Yes.”This was before cell phones so I went back inside the house, called him at work and said, “David I just now found some petunias in the car. Thank you for the flowers! What a nice thing to do.”Later on that week, I decided to try to shove one more can in the trash compactor. The last time I’d looked, there wasn’t much room for anything but an envelope! I opened the compactor drawer and there it was, clean, empty and relined and it wasn’t even trash day.I heard the quiet inner voice again, “Thank him for the flowers.”I called him at work again. “David, I just found daffodils in the trash compactor. You are so thoughtful, thank you for the flowers.”I’m sure David smiled as he hung up the phone.Another day I was feeling ill, and David urged me to go to the doctor.“I don’t want to go to the doctor.” I said.“Why not?” he asked.“Because even if all I have is a hangnail he’ll tell me to lose weight.”David sighed. “Then I’ll go with you.”“I don’t want you to hear him tell me to lose weight.”David tilted his head. “What’s the difference if you weigh one pound per cubic inch, or three pounds per cubic inch? I’m absolutely crazy about you!”“Oh David!” I said. “Three dozen, long stemmed, American Beauty Roses!”A while later, on Valentine’s Day, my hairdresser asked,
“Did you get anything special today?”I smiled and said, “Oh, I have three dozen roses that are still fresh and fragrant.”Another time I was speaking at a women’s weekend retreat. The conference center was an hour’s drive from our home. I was housed in a nice cabin where David and I had previously stayed for a couples’ retreat.That night had been a particularly difficult first session. I couldn’t seem to get through to the women. Then I remembered this was one of my “Mount Rushmore” church groups, where the faces were set in stone, chiseled into the mountain, and refusing to move. I’d previously made a mental note not to return, but must have forgotten. I called David, even though it was after midnight. I heard a sleepy “Hello.”“Honey, I hate to bother you at this time of the night.”“You’re allowed,” he said patiently.“It’s just that I’m having a really hard time with this group. Would you please pray for me?”He prayed a nice, although sleepy, prayer. I thanked him and went to bed. About an hour later, as I was drifting off to sleep, I heard a tapping at my door. I got up and opened the door, and there, standing in the rain, was David. “I thought you needed a buddy,” he said.He stayed the night and left before breakfast. That beautiful spring bouquet has never left my heart.
One weekend David and I were speaking at a small town in Oregon. At the Sunday morning service, several people were visiting because of a local family reunion. After the service a man from Libby, Montana came up to me. He asked, “Did you do a women’s retreat in Sandpoint, Idaho?”“Yes,” I said.“I thought it was someone with an unusual first name. I have you to thank for a whole new marriage.”“Really?” I said.“Yes, my wife came home from the retreat and began thanking me for flowers. Now I lie awake nights, thinking about what I can do for her, and wondering what flower she’s going to call it.