I’ve never bought flowers for my dad’s birthday. Truth be told, I’m not sure I’ve ever bought flowers for my dad. But today he turns eighty, and I think it’s probably about time.
Why flowers? Because I ordered them from Scheffler’s.
By the time Dad was born, Scheffler’s had been selling flowers for 20 years. Of course, it would be another forty years before their paths would cross, Bert Scheffler and Arnold Swanson.
I have no idea what happened during those years to the flower business. I do know that Dad lived in Big Fork, Minnesota, lost his dad, moved to Minneapolis, almost lost his life in Korea, found a calling from God, found my mom, found three kids, and found himself in an office in Wheaton, Illinois in 1967, working for an organization called Christian Service Brigade.
That office was about three blocks from Sheffler’s Flowers.
Sheffler’s had a greenhouse and a flowershop. They weren’t fancy but they were always busy. And they always had what they called a bargain bouquet. Or at least that’s what dad always called it. (And he needed a bargain in those days.)
I’m guessing that the bargain bouquets were the odds and ends at the end of the day, gathered together and wrapped for the guys who wanted a quick bunch of flowers to take home. For dad, it wasn’t about guilt or wanting to make up for some offense, it was a necessary extravagance. His way of expressing love (his love language) is gift giving. And taking my mom flowers, once a week, in the middle of winter, was his way of saying, “I love you, Ardis.”
For years, he got her flowers from Schefflers, often commenting that Bert himself had been willing to work the counter. (That was dad’s way of saying that a good manager is willing to serve.)
I’ve been gone from that area for nearly thirty years. Scheffler’s has a new store a couple towns one direction and mom and dad live in an adjacent town the other direction. It’s not far in distance, I suppose, but too far and too much traffic to get there often. But I thought, this year, that flowers from Scheffler’s would be a good way to thank dad for what he’s taught me about love and about leadership and business integrity and relationship — and about flowers.
Happy Birthday, Dad. Enjoy the flowers. I hope they are the right kind.
Oh, yes. And thanks for teaching me about stories. This one is for you.