And the flowers really did add something special to the vibe of that corner. Not just the beauty and the fragrance of the flowers. But the constant parade of people buying them as an expression of their love.
Mother’s Day was always the biggest day of the year for the the flower shop. And the line of customers would curl around the block. Even moreso than on Valentine’s Day (which I believe was the second-most popular day). The theory being: “Everyone has a mother. But not everyone has a boyfriend or girlfriend.” Christmas and Easter were the other two biggies. Father’s Day was a dud. Ha ha (everybody probably went to the hardware store for that one).
We had relatively few problems or fights over the years on that corner. And I think it was the presence of all those flowers that really helped to keep the peace. (I said “relatively few” — I got in about 10 physical fights over the years, but that’s not bad considering what a volatile scene it was, just a half-a-block from People’s Park and all the crazy people that were always milling around — and in my defense, your Honor, there was a bare minimum of actual bloodshed — it was mostly just scrapping)
And all the different flower girls that worked there over the years were all incredibly beautiful and sweet. I don’t know if working amongst flowers all day made them that way (I mean, it beats working with raw meat all day, or working in the sewer system). Or if they just happened to be naturally sweet.
We had more than a few memorials for fallen comrades over the years on that corner (it got to the point where one old-timer quipped: “The only time we get together and party anymore is when somebody dies.”). And I always bought flowers. And the flower girls always laid an incredible spread of flowers on me. Because the flower girls were all part of the scene, too.
I’m thinking about it now, because they just recently tore down the flower shop booth. They’re putting some kind of trendy new nightclub or artsy discotheque or something in the building. Hopefully, it’ll be pretty cool. But I doubt it will be as cool as a flower shop.