>Griswold’s Bouquet


Okay, so I was thinking of this today for no particular reason. It isn’t the day of the week, the season, or anything else for that matter. I just randomly thought of it and laughed. I laughed because Clark Griswold loves me. If you don’t know who that is, then you have an assignment for this week: go to any video store or Netflix and rent National Lampoon’s Vacation. It may be that you’re too young to know. Either that or you have had your head crammed up your own arse for about 25 years or so.

But anyway…

Clark Griswold loves me. Lemme explain.

It was a hot summer day and I was at the midpoint in respiratory school. I was actually trying to cram as many of my premedicine requirements in as possible that summer while on break from my respiratory classes, and was enrolled in more chemistry classes than one should ever take simultaneoulsy. General, organic, blah, blah, blah. John was coming to pick me up that day, as he had my car. It wasn’t a special day or anything. Just a run-of-the-mill, this-sucks-that-I-have-class-today kind of day. I would’ve rather been by the pool. Or on the lake. Or inside my air-conditioned house, in comfy sweats, with the thermostat set on 50 degrees and blissfully pretending it’s winter. But nope. Chemistry.

So I get out of class and John isn’t there yet. I hate that. If you are going to keep my car, don’t make me wait on you to pick me up. I don’t care if I get finished an hour early. If you have my car, it is your job to telepathically know that and be there. So I’m pissy. And hot. And carrying about 500 lbs. of texts. I don’t know how long I waited on him that day, but in my mind it seems like 2 hours, though it was probably more like 10 minutes. And up rolls John in our car.

I’m gearing myself up, getting ready to let him have it because I’m a dragon-lady. I fling open the car door and suddenly I am speechless because in the passenger seat, there is the most gorgeous arrangement of peach roses I have ever seen. I should stop here and tell you that peach roses are my absolute fave. They have to be the true peach. Not pale pink or orange-ish white. Peach. And so on that note, they can be kind of hard to find. And I love them.

So John finds peach roses and buys me a bouquet arranged in a vase, trimmed with this gorgeous sage-colored ribbon. And completely surprises me. And so I can’t yell at him for making me wait anymore. I go to get into the car after flinging the backpack in the backseat. It is kind of difficult to maneuver around the huge bouquet, but I lift it up and slide in underneath it, gingerly sitting the vase on my lap. I didn’t bump it on the roof of the car. Didn’t whack it with the door or maim it with my seatbelt. But…

The instant I sit it on my lap, all of the blooms fall off of the stems. Seriously I have never seen anything like it. Complete and utter flower decapitation. It wasn’t just that the petals fell off. The entire bloom. And they were still mostly closed, too. So I am left with a dozen of what look like weeds. John and I both stared in complete amazement for about 5 seconds, unable to say anything. Of course that was before he peeled out of the parking lot, raving mad and headed straight to the florist. He was mumbling these incoherent sentences, something about “$100” and a few F-bombs. Mind you, this was when I was in school. And we were seriously broke, y’all. I don’t know how much he dropped on my V-day roses this year, but we still to this day don’t spend that much on flowers unless someone is getting married or has died and that someone is a close relative. (I’m sure the 2 dozen I got for V-day this year was even more, and I don’t even want to go there.) But then? As broke as we were at the time? Wow.

So John goes back to the florist and takes them in. He had just left, so the lady obviously remembered him. And he walks in and hands her the weeds in the vase and the flowers separate from them and demands to have a full refund. And she tells him–get this!–“I’m glad you brought them back so I can maybe sell them to another customer.” Because I’m sure the demand for decapitated roses is sky-high. And she tries to give John another color of rose. He’s having none of that. He takes his cash and gets back in the car where I am waiting for him.

Of course by this point, I am touched that he did this for me on a random day. Really I am. The gesture was enough for me. But he is bound and determined that I am going to get peach roses. That is what he set out to do and that is what I am going to get, damnit. And so he drives all over town, despite my protests, to every florist he can think of. And he finds the peach roses. And they are even more beautiful than the first.

We laugh and joke about that day often. The day something so simple as bringing me a surprise bouquet of flowers went completely wrong. About the random and bizarre happening to us. It’s been sort of representative of our relationship. If something could possibly go wrong, it will. And no, our last name isn’t Murphy. We are indeed like the Griswolds.

Sometimes I wish our life together wasn’t so difficult at times. And at other times I know that those experiences are the glue that binds us so steadfastly. If it is something so serious, we learn and we grow. If it is something silly, we laugh together. There’s an entirely twangy and cheesy country song out there, and one of the lines says something about “we’re lost but holding hands”. That’s us. That is 100% John and Andi. If I could have one wish granted for the rest of our years together, it would be that we never lose that ability to laugh together.

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