Vol. 11, No. 2,646 - The American Reporter - May 16, 2005

Hominy & Hash

Constance Daley
The American Reporter
St. Simons Island, Ga.

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. -- You can pluck the slender white petals from a daisy until the nubs of your fingers turn yellow and you still won't know if he loves you or loves you not. For that, you need a rose, preferably a dozen of them - American Beauties if your dreams are your reality. Flowers do have a language, and there is no question that when a man sends his love red roses he is quietly saying, "I love you."

Although, (and this is according the experts in human understanding and behavior) if he sends them to her at work where the entire staff sees the expression of his love for his wife or girlfriend, then, well, he really, really loves her. The roses say so.

Further, "they" say, if she's a stay-at-home wife or girlfriend, and he sends them to her at the next door neighbor's address, well, he is a romantic guy. The woman finds pleasure in the roses, of course, but having others know about the roses really puts the bloom into the bouquet. He loves her, he wants the world to know it and so does she. No words were spoken but a lot was said.

Never was this language more eloquent than in the days of Queen Victoria when love flourished and poets reigned. And there was humor, too, in this land of stiff upper lip and keep your feelings to yourself. Those of the marrying age took flowers and their expressed meanings seriously enough to use in place of words -- especially if the words might seem harsh if heard aloud.

This is an example of one such exchange I found: With a little bouquet of Amethyst, Meadow lychnis, Moss rosebud in his hands, he silently "says" to her: "You're so clever! I have to admit -- I love you."

And she, handing him Betony, Marjoram, Southernwood and Spiderwort to speak for her "I'm surprised, and very embarrassed. I was only joking. I like you but I don't love you." Whoops!

Flowers and poems and blushing and hoping and wishing and praying are all such innocent and beautiful parts of the human condition that it's surprising it is outlawed in many Muslim countries as a Christian holiday named for a priest and it is promoting debauchery, rape, and vice among teenagers. What must they think of our Kindergarten Valentine box?

It's a danger to the Muslim faith, they're reporting today. They search campuses for any sign of cards and love letters exchanged on Feb. 14th, a practice that is catching on among the young. They police the shopping areas for red flowers, candy boxes, cards. However, Datuk Kamilia Ibrahim said something I do agree with: "Love should be for friends and family every day, not just celebrated one day a year."

As we've learned, love happens. No one can control when they fall in love and those common, ordinary, expressions of love, well able to fit into the parameters of society, can't be left to chance or an arrangement.

Gathering flowers and tying them together into what would become a message would never suit my temperament. I would be biting my tongue as I twisted Vine, Great Bridweed, Almond (Common) and Mimosa into what I would present to the cad as my voice saying: "You were drunk and misled me, and that was very thoughtless of you. I can't handle such behavior."

And he, the cad, might have his apology ready with Volkamenia, Flos Adonis, Acalia to say for him: "May you be happy. I'll remember this and try not to get so foolishly drunk in the future."

Oh, those Victorians! Even their proper straight-laced flowers spoke with a Brittish accent. The gentlemen callers said what they had to say and took their leave; or, they fashioned a bouquet and lingered.

A century before we ever knew of the telephone, telegraph, fax, instant messages, e-mail, cell phones and blackberries (although in some parts of the world there were the languages of drums and smoke signals) we had flowers speaking for us. Today, none of the advances in high technology will do. At least, not when we're speaking love. Daisies don't tell but roses say it all.

Copyright 2005 Joe Shea The American Reporter. All Rights Reserved.