Memories and a good story

So Mother’s Day has come and gone, and I’ve got to tell you, I’m a little sad I didn’t get any funeral flowers.

It’s been a few years since I’ve gotten a funeral wreath for Mother’s Day, but the story never gets any less entertaining, regardless of what the Long Suffering Husband says. He mostly says it’s old hat because he’s the one who bought me a funeral wreath for Mother’s Day.

I still have it on my desk, because I told the kids I would put it up at work. These days, it helps prop up the Mario Lemieux poster a reader brought me one day, but it’s still there and as eye-searingly and unnaturally pink as ever.

It’s a favorite story in the newsroom, and, sooner or later, I tell it to each new reporter.

It goes a little like this: I am not good at getting presents. I want to know what they are before I get them.

At holidays, I am forbidden to talk about presents with the children, so they don’t accidentally give me a clue. Over the years, they have gotten better at not telling me, and the LSH has gotten better at hiding my gifts. Or he’s waiting until the last minute to buy it, which probably is the wiser course.

Since the LSH and children managed to keep my Mother’s Day present a secret that year, I was excited to see the large bag carried out to the car for the trip to my mother’s home for the annual Mother’s Day picnic and present swap.

Each year, Grandmama, myself and my sister Foo-Dog swap Mother’s Day presents, since we are all mothers. (This year I received a gnome with laser eyes, which joins my growing gnome army in the front yard; my poor neighbors.) The year of the wreath, the kids were so thrilled with what they had picked out, they were bouncing with excitement. The Little Professor was so proud and excited, he pulled the wreath out of the bag the moment we walked through the door, revealing the now-legendary funeral wreath.

It was adorned with pink and white flowers and had a pink silk ribbon with gold foil die-cut letters spelling out “mom” in cursive script. The side of the box read “Teters Memorial Flowers” in letters at least an inch and a half high. There was illustrated instructions on the box which showed you how to stake it out – complete with a little illustrated headstone. It was quite obviously a funeral wreath.

“Thank you,” I told the kids. “It’s beautiful. I’ll hang it up at work.”

“You can hang it on your bedroom door, Mommy,” the Little Professor said.

“It says ‘Mom,'” my Sassy Saint added.

“This is a funeral wreath,” I whispered to my husband.

“I didn’t know,” he said.

To this day, I am still baffled as to how he missed that.

I picked up the bag and folded it. On the front, it read “On Your Wedding Day.”

I looked at my husband.

“I didn’t see that, either,” he said.

“It’s OK,” I said. “I love the wreath, and at least I’ll get a story out of it.”

And I did.

(Wallace-Minger, a resident of Weirton, is community editor of The Weirton Daily Times.)