Hand Picked

There is a stretch on Interstate 5, near Salem, Oregon, where Daffodils bloom in gay profusion each spring. I don’t know who planted them in the center strip of the highway. I do know that I love the lavish display of yellow blossoms and the sweet sachet that permeates the interior of my car as I pass.

I was lucky this year to drive through when the flowers were in full array. I was even luckier to pass by when a huge burly man wearing a leather vest and a scraggly beard tip toed through them. His hand at the end of a muscled and tattooed arm carried a gorgeous bouquet.

A rusty old pickup truck parked beside the southbound lanes with emergency flashers slowed traffic in both directions.

I took a few extra peaks at him in my rear view mirror and noticed that I was smiling – not because I recommend stealing flowers or defying 70 mph traffic to filch them. Rather, it was just the incongruity of a hardened man with an armful of handpicked flowers in the middle of a busy interstate highway.

I remember when my friend Beth and I picked flowers along the quiet road where she lived. We were five or six, so our collection must have been a tangled mess of spring weeds.

Mrs. Jewel was the ideal candidate for our mission when we presented them at her back door. She waved her arms in excitement, admired the flowers with wonder, and thrilled our little hearts with her response.

"Oh,My Stars!” she gushed.

I wonder if the recipient of Mr. Rough Guy’s public display of affection was as appreciative as Mrs. Jewel.


Desert Songbird said…
Hey, I'm first!

Yes, I wonder who will receive the flowers from Mr. Rough Guy. Whoever s/he is, I hope they appreciate the loving and thoughtful gesture.

What a tender heart Mr. Rough Guy must have, huh?
Amanda said…
Even tough guys know that sometimes you have to stop and smell 'em... or even stop and pick a few. :)

(this WV is "bushed" tee hee)
ChrisB said…
Every story paints a picture and that would have been a sight to behold.
A delightful story, Pam. I hope Burly Man in Rusty Truck's sweetie shouted O' My Stars, at the sight of the yellow bouquet!!
LadyStyx said…
Just goes to show...dont judge a book by its cover.
WT said…
Sounds like the daffodils weren't the only things gay in this story.
coffeypot said…
The man was picking flowers for his former cell mate, Big Bubba, who was getting released that day. Love is grand in the Spring.
BlondeBlogger said…
Aww, that is so sweet! And I am LMAO at coffeypot because I had this image of him giving it to his sweet wife at home, lol!
Shelby said…
I can picture it in my mind - and it is beautiful .. the flowers, the roadside, the landscape, the old rusty trick and the old man gathering the blooms .. and I can imagine his lady back at the house seeing him drive up, get out of that truck and bring her hand up to her heart as she sees what he has brought home for her.

This is the loveliest scene.

Your writing is so exquisite because it portrays the simple joys and common yet uncommon scenes. Sometimes we see them all the time, but we all can't express them in ways that make us remember that happenings are so special in so many ways.

In this post, you made me see the flowers, smell the flowers, feel the air around the landscape, notice the contrast between the young fresh bountiful blooms and the old truck and then the imagined scene of what he was gonna do with those blooms.. makes me think of my family, my dad, my mom, my grandpa, my grandma.. friends who have families..aprons, mornings.. I could go on and on.

By the way, yesteerday, one of my friends at work and I were talking about birthdays and turning 50 (not me, my husband).. my friend turned 50... ANYWAY, I told her, well she's got at least 50 more years.. and then I told her of your aunt who just turned 100, and how during the night she woke up and said, "I made it!"

I am so gonna do that.

Heather said…
I think a bouquet of hand-picked flowers in the hands of a tough guy would be a delight to anyone. :-)

Back when we were dating, Marcel was a truck driver. He knew I loved lilacs, so one day he stopped at the side of the road and stole a big armful from the edge of a farmyard. :-)
Kaycie said…
Laughing at WT. Only he could see something gay in your lovely story.
Swampy said…
I'm in your neck of the woods for a few days, and am just amazed at the profusion of color here.
Makes me feel gay.
Karmyn R said…
Oh WT!!!!

I was going to say that the exterior doesn't always represent the interior!
He might have been taking them to the nursing home or the hospital..whever.. I do hope they were appreciated. Lovely scene you painted with your words! :)
Susie Q said…
I know they were appreciated...just as I appreciate your way with words, your ability to paint a story. I don't need a ohoto...I have your words and my imagination!
tlawwife said…
When we lived in Missouri there were always daffodils in the spring. I miss them.
lisaschaos said…
What a great sight to behold!

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