The Rose Wars

Yes, beloved readers, it’s Valentine’s Day. Even if you celebrate Superbowl Hangover Day, Olympic Ice Dancing Recap Day, or your regularly scheduled I-Don’t-Like-Mondays Day, you’ll be bombarded with graphic pink and red hearts and flowers and droolworthy chocolate recipes. You won’t find those here, but one of us Chicks has a public-service warning for you: Beware the Roses…

Before I explain why those innocent-looking, sweet-smelling roses on your kitchen counter could drive you to homicide, I need to set the record straight.

When I was kid-detective Flossie Bobbsey’s age, I thought all roses were, in her words, bee-yoo-tiful. My mom had four gardens, and I had the opportunity to weed my way through them, carefully avoiding nasty thorns and fuzzy, lurking bumblebees. Five cents a grocery bag full didn’t net a fortune, but it beat dusting. My floral charges presented themselves in a dizzying color wheel of enticing hues: reds, pinks, peaches, creams, and whites. They all smelled nice. But the cheery yellow roses were my favorite.

Eventually I learned a few things about roses. Like the demanding Flower in Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince, they can be selfish, vain, and scheming beneath those silky petals. They murmur barely audible messages to those who desire them from afar. This is especially true around the middle of the cruelest month. No, not April. February, when the roses display their true colors.

Everyone loves roses, right? And really, what’s better than receiving them once in a while?

Sadly, no fabulous bouquets ever came my way, even on Valentine’s Day, for more decades than I cared to count. None of my Prince Charmings believed in floral displays of affection on Hallmark holidays. And that was perfectly okay with me.

Because…well, roses were expensive. Over-rated. Maybe even vaguely sexist. Plus there was the daunting task of keeping them alive, even for a week.

What could be worse than receiving a garish, token arrangement at the office, where everyone would be sure to notice that telltale trail of rose petals leading straight from the reception area to your desk? And everyone was so happy for you.

But one rainy Valentine’s Day, it finally happened. I was the recipient of an enormous bunch of gorgeous roses. Please bear with me—I’m getting to the murder part.

My eyes filled with happy tears, which I quickly brushed away so no one could tell I was a 1-800-Flowers newbie. I was a princess today, the Cinderella who had always watched everyone else go off to the ball. At last I could live Happily Ever After. (In the romance world, they refer to that as “HEA.” In the mystery world, not so much.)

The spell was broken when a colleague sidled up behind me and peered over my shoulder at the attached card. “Boyfriend?”

I nodded.

“They’re yellow,” she said, with a sniff. “Yellow roses mean friendship. Or jealousy. Not love. Too bad.” Then she walked away.

You would have thought she was talking about yellow snow. And rose colors had meanings?  I quickly googled to confirm, and the yellow-hearted messengers on my desk were silent. Yes, red meant love, and white was purity or unity, and peach denoted passion and yellow with red tips meant a growing relationship. Black-hued roses were not good news–no shock there. There was even a peachy-pink Miss Piggy rose. (Maybe I didn’t want a bouquet of those, either.)

My colleague was right about the friendship-yellow. She’d ruined the most important moment of my entire romantic life. “Kill her,” the roses said, very loudly and clearly. “Kill her now.”

I glanced at the pair of scissors standing among the editing pencils in my desk mug. “You can do it,” the roses urged. “Kill, kill, kill!”

My hands closed on cool steel, just as the sender called to see if they’d arrived. He’d remembered that I’d told him yellow roses were my favorite. An arrangement sat on the champagne table the day we’d met at an event.

Reader, I married him. My bridal bouquet included gorgeous but perfectly meaningless hydrangeas–and maybe a yellow rose or two.

What are you doing on this multi-faceted Monday? Let us know in the comments below!

39 thoughts on “The Rose Wars

  1. We are taking our 2 older cats to the vet for their yearly checkup this afternoon. I asked my husband not to get me flowers this year. I rather look at the ones out in the yard and they last a lot longer. Maybe we will go out for dinner or even take out.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I’m just hanging with my mom and dachshund, Daisy today. If I’m ambitious, I’ll cook Daisy and me a romantic dinner for two vegetarian style. Get some reading in, possibly get some words down, and I can’t forget to call the vet to make an appointment for Daisy’s annual. She, however, had “garnish” on her breakfast because Mommy loves her.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. My wife Nancy and I celebrated Valentine’s Day yesterday with Death…on the Nile. Then we went out for appetizers and a drink and discussed the film. It was a fun afternoon!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Enjoyed your rose story, Lisa! Glad it led to less killing and more love.

    One of the first floral bouquets I received was in college for my birthday…from my brother. It was beautiful, but I can’t tell you how many times I had to clarify that they weren’t from a secret admirer.

    As for today, I’m leaving plans up in the air.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Lovely story, Lisa! He remembered your favorite color. I would have snapped and told the colleague off!
    I decide what colors of roses mean, according to my mood. Not that I get them with my allergies, but my wedding bouquet had light pink (which mean condolences or sympathy 😂) because of Elvis and the pink Caddy.

    We are putting off the celebration until next Monday.
    I’d planned on taking today off, but work is too pressured deadlineish right now.
    Plus, my present is twelve little activity gifts that will be given throughout the day. Not doable to a work schedule!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. What a cool celebration you’re planning! We won’t breathe a word to your hubs. And I assure you, I didn’t stay at that job long.

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  6. Yellow roses are my absolute favorite color! (Of course, yellow is also my favorite color for shirts, socks, tea cups, paintings, and cars–see, e.g., Sally Solari’s creamy yellow ’57 T-Bird, a car I always dreamed of having, so I gave it to my protagonist.)

    Rather than Valentine’s Day, Robin and I celebrated on the 12th, our half-anniversary–as we do each year. Which, by the way, makes it far easier to procure restaurant reservations!

    Happy Valentine’s Day to all my Chicks, and to all of you beloved readers, too!

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  7. Any good relationship includes friendship, right? Shame on your co-worker for ruining your moment, and good for your husband for remembering what your favorite rose was. That’s what truly matters.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. What a great story, Lisa!! It’s funny…I was just having a conversation with my eldest about the (supposed?) meaning of rose colors as he buys his first bouquet for his first sweetie.

    Which brings me to my plans: I’m celebrating by having the kids’ special someones over for dinner!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. What a great story. And I was rooting (no pun intended) for your roses and scissors to get their way with that co-worker. My hubby is a great gift-giver so I always get beautiful flowers, a bit of candy and often something unusual, like the book, Eat What You Watch: A Cookbook for Movie Lovers.”

    And Flossie Bobbsey, that’s a name out of the past. I loved those twins. I was blond like Flossie but I wanted to be clever like Nan (and I was an older sister anyway).

    Enjoy the day! Thanks for a fun post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Sally! Yes, I was a big Bobbsey fan. I was exactly Flossie and Freddie’s age for the Grosset & Dunlap late 60s edition. And I have to check out that book, because it sounds awesome.

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  10. Lisa, yellow roses are lovely — and a man who remembers your favorite color roses is a keeper!
    Not sure what the color signifies, but hubs brought me peach roses today — very pretty! I’ve had a roast slow-cooking in the oven for four hours — I’m really hoping it turns out!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Your co-worker sounds mean. Did you invite her to the wedding? My husband knows I’m desperate for any sign of spring by this time of year, so he always buys spring-like flowers (good man that he is!). I bake him his favorite apple pie and we stay in for dinner. We don’t feel like we have to gulp our meal because someone is waiting for the table.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I most definitely did not invite her, Mary. And this is petty, but I occasionally think of her and creep on her FB page. She’s just as mean as ever, it seems. Your home celebration sounds perfect–I have a friend who bought herself the most beautiful tulips yesterdy, for the very same reason. And yes, being hustled out of a restaurant so they can turn over tables is the worst. (It always makes me feel as if cooler people are waiting, when in fact they probably just couldn’t get a rez before 10 pm.) Also…sometimes I just prefer the regular menu rather than the pre-set special. They never get the dessert right.

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