The thing is, you don’t know when you’re going to have the weirdest conversation in the history of the world. Which is what, I suppose, makes it weird.
We’re at the florist buying flowers. Shirley Floral, longtime San Angelo tradition. I keep thinking to myself, “don’t call me Shirley.” My humor is lost on the masses.
We’re trying to figure out what kind of flowers to buy. There’s a HUGE monkey in the shop. I’m thinking if I had my way, I’d buy the monkey and sit it on top of Ma’s casket. Everyone would laugh. We could all use a laugh right now.
In the end, we got her the same kind of flower I got her for Mother’s Day. I had gone to the website back then and bought a random bouquet. When Mo asked me what kind of flower I had gotten, I realized I didn’t have a clue. But Ma loved them (as Ma’s always do), and it had been a pretty funny memory, so we got another round.
As we were standing at the counter, a guy in a florist apron is looking at Brother the Younger. Did you go to Central High? he asks him. Yeah, he says, class of ’78. No, he says. My brother was in the Class of ’74, my helpful brother offers and points at me.
He looks at me. I’m, um, gary smith, I offer meekly.
Did you live on Jackson Street? he asks.
I sold you a guitar once, he says.
It was a Fender Jaguar.
Wish I’d never sold that guitar.
um, right. Will these flowers be delivered to the funeral home? And that was it.
THIS WAS 40 YEARS AGO!!!!! How did he figure out who we were, remember where we lived 40 YEARS AGO (I had no idea what street we lived on) and then piece all of this together? All I remember of the transaction was that some guy said he had a guitar, I went over one night, and bought it. The end.
Why is this haunting him? What am I supposed to say? And what IS the name of this flower I keep buying?
We walk out of the shop. I lament that I no longer have the guitar so I could leave it propped up at the door the next time we visit.
I guess you don’t know what’s going to be important in life till many years later when you look back. For me, it was just a guitar. For him, I guess it was much more.
Sorry about your Jaguar. And thanks for the flowers. Whatever they are …