Picked Just for You

Picked Just for You

From Chicken Soup for the Grandma's Soul

Picked Just for You

Flowers are love’s truest language.

Park Benjamin

“I’ll call you right back, Marge,” I told my friend on the phone. “Someone’s at the door. Probably another salesman.”

On our street we get salespeople of all kinds—remodeling, newspapers, entertainment discount cards, you name it—plus eager children with Girl Scout cookies, boxes of candy, gift wrapping packages and Easter eggs, all in the name of charity for more schools and clubs than I can keep straight.

This time my door opened to two little girls. I had met Alyssa, six, a couple of weeks before. Since then, she’d waved to me every time she struggled past my house on a pair of inline skates almost as big as she. Like most of the children on our street, she called me “Grandma Bonnie.”

Now Alyssa smiled. “Hello, Grandma Bonnie!” she chirped. “This is my little sister, Ariana. She’s three.” To her very nervous sister, “It’s okay, honey. She’s nice people. You’ll like her.”

The three-year-old held a “bouquet” in one hand, and the other gripped a tiny notebook and huge broken crayon. “Go on,” her big sister urged, “tell her.”

Ariana looked at me solemnly. “I want to help raise money for my preschool,” she said, holding out her flowers. “So I’m selling these for one dollar a bunch.”

I had a hard time hiding my grin. I understood her notebook and crayon—a substitute for the record-keeping forms and pens she’d seen the older children lug door-to-door with their wares. She couldn’t, of course, even print her own name, much less a receipt.

As for the bouquet, it consisted of seven scraggly oxalis blossoms. Now if you’re a gardener, you’re probably already cringing. If you’re not, let me explain. Oxalis is a weed, a madly determined, clover-like plant that’s almost impossible to get rid of. Worse than dandelions! Obviously Ariana had plucked these despised but thriving flowers from her own yard or a neighbor’s—or maybe even mine.

Her big sister smiled. “Aren’t they lovely, Grandma Bonnie? And they only cost a dollar for the whole bunch. It’s all for Ariana’s preschool.”

Now maybe I was being played for the world’s biggest sucker, but the girls’ initiative did tickle me. “All right,” I agreed, “one dollar coming up.”

Alyssa tucked the bill in her sister’s skirt pocket. Then Ariana handed me my purchase. “Uh,” I suggested, “why don’t you just keep the flowers and the money both? Then you could sell the flowers to someone else.”

Both girls stared at me, horrified. “Oh, no, Grandma Bonnie!” Ariana cried. “We picked them just for you. See, they’re beautiful!”

And so they were. Seven slender stems soon graced the bud vase by my kitchen window. A week later, they were still crowned with a tassel of perfectly shaped lemon-yellow bells of joy—twice as many as when my little neighbor handed them to me with dozens of new buds yet to open. What a bargain!

I had called these tiny plants “weeds”—disgusting, worthless things with no right to exist. But in their innocent hearts, those two little girls saw them as they really were—a precious creation of God’s to treasure and share out of loving hearts to brighten the day of a lonely old “Grandma.”

Bonnie Hanson

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