April 9, 2019

"Please, please revive us with this sort of writing frequently. Too often when I peruse what’s available to read in the NYT - and other publications..."

"... I find I don’t have the courage to dive down yet another dark hole. This was delightful and not at all insignificant."

This is the second-highest rated comment — the first was "I adore these little vignettes..." — on a tiny set of feel-good items beginning with one about a woman who, going into surgery, asked her husband to bring her blue hyacinths but realized that the main thing she really wanted was just him and it was fine that he brought daffodils.

I kept reading the comments and finally found one with some edge:
Re the lovely story about asking for flowers...  The writer had just undergone major surgery. Before going under, her husband (like any decent partner) kindly asked her what he should bring. Her request was simple and perfect: blue hyacinths. I realize it didn't matter to the writer that her husband brought her daffodils instead - his presence was what really mattered. But, for goodness' sake, why couldn't the husband get her the hyacinths? Were none available in all of Manhattan? Or was it just another case of excusing men - "oh, they're just guys, what do you expect? They can't get things straight."...
Ha ha. I agree. I was going to say, Now, that's New York. But the commenter is in Seattle.



ADDED: The various flowers have a traditional meaning — look.

What she wanted:
Hyacinth symbolizes playfulness and a sporty attitude and in its extreme rashness. Hyacinths also denote constancy. Blue hyacinth stands for constancy, purple for sorrow, red or pink for play, white for loveliness and yellow for jealousy.
What he gave:
Daffodil symbolizes regard and chivalry. It is indicative of rebirth, new beginnings and eternal life. It also symbolizes unrequited love. A single daffodil foretells a misfortune while a bunch of daffodils indicate joy and happiness.

54 comments:

Henry said...

He brought her redacted hyacinths.

chickelit said...

Why did you throw the Jack of Hearts away?
Why did you throw the Jack of Hearts away?
It was the only card in the deck that I had left to play

CJinPA said...

I get the feeling there is zero chance Meade would have brought you the wrong flowers, and that, naturally, is the standard you're using to judge this chap.

There is probably a nuance to this couple's relationship that the rest of us can't appreciate, not knowing anything about them.

EDH said...

Her request was simple and perfect: blue hyacinths.

Wonder if she's a Three Stooges fan?

Curly is revived by hyacinth!

tcrosse said...

There's a daisy. I would give you some violets, but they withered all when my father died.

EDH said...

Even Trump is revived by hyacinth.

Funnier than the original Trump CNN wrestling meme!

Saint Croix said...

why couldn't the husband get her the hyacinths?

Because he didn't know how to spell it, say it, remember it, or know what the hell it looks like. That's some shit you need to write down if you want to buy. And he couldn't call his wife and ask for specifics because she was under the damn gas. So he did the best he could. For fuck's sake.

Saint Croix said...

pretty flower though!

SGT Ted said...

"But, for goodness' sake, why couldn't the husband get her the hyacinths?"

Because he knew that it didn't really matter and even his woman realizes that.

Women are too nit-picky and judgey than is healthy for relationships.

1st world women don't have any real life drama in their lives anymore, such as starvation, death or kidnap/rape from invaders, death in childbed, etc so their need to invent it and to inflate minimal hiccups into full blown problems so they can drama queen it up is killing modern society.

Saint Croix said...

still don't know how to say it

hi-uh-cynth?

Fen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fen said...

why couldn't the husband get her the hyacinths?

Because funerals are for the living, not the dead.

His was in a constant state of worry that something might go wrong during surgery and he would lose her. Flowers weren't the priority. He forgot them until he was headed to the hospital. Pulled off the interstate at some roadside vendor and grabbed whatever was available. Knew he got it wrong but hoped (prayed) she would be around to hector him (with a laugh) about it in recovery.

EDH said...

But, for goodness' sake, why couldn't the husband get her the hyacinths?

Well, daffodils are better than "one measly petunia!"

Nichevo said...

As RH Hardin could tell you, as if you didn't know, women aren't happy unless they have something to bitch about. If she got The Right Flowers, she would have had to struggle to find some other complaint. So he let her off easy.

gilbar said...

Oh! OH! there's a Far Side cartoon for this!
Just replace
the word dog, with husband
the word Ginger with YOU

What Dogs hear

Ann Althouse said...

"I get the feeling there is zero chance Meade would have brought you the wrong flowers, and that, naturally, is the standard you're using to judge this chap."

There's zero chance I'd have asked for a particular type of flower.

I had surgery recently. Three times, if you count the tooth extraction. Twice, if you only count the cataract surgery (done in 2 separate sessions). I didn't ask for anything, other than that I needed to have someone with me for the eye surgery. It was required. What I value is what he gives, not whether he'd provide me with a particular specified item, and I can't imagine putting him to a test like that. What really is going on with that? It's like something in a movie or a maudlin song (like "Scarlet Ribbons").

CJinPA said...

Because he didn't know how to spell it, say it, remember it, or know what the hell it looks like. That's some shit you need to write down if you want to buy.

We've owned our home for 20 years and I could not tell you what flowers, bushes and most trees are planted on our property. But my wife knows, and she likes them and that's what matters. I'll still rake the leaves.

Ann Althouse said...

@EDH LOL.

CJinPA said...

Because he didn't know how to spell it, say it, remember it, or know what the hell it looks like. That's some shit you need to write down if you want to buy.

We've owned our home for 20 years and I could not tell you what flowers, bushes and most trees are planted on our property. But my wife knows, and she likes them and that's what matters. I'll still rake the leaves.

EDH said...

Women love the Three Stooges more than flowers!

tcrosse said...

Bring me the head of Hyacinth Bucket (Bouquet)

gilbar said...

Nichevo said... women aren't happy unless they have something to bitch about.

Back when i was a Professional Dishwasher; when the restaurant closed for the night, the manager would come through and check our cleanup of the kitchen before we could go home.

She'd ALWAYS find something that we'd missed or messed up.
For a while we scrubbed and scrubbed, trying and trying each night to make it perfect. But no matter how hard we tried, there was Always SOMETHING that she'd find for us to redo.

FINALLY! we realized that she'd look until she'd found something for us to redo. So, from then on, we'd ALWAYS leave some obvious (but easy to fix) mistake [a coffee pot on the wrong shelf, a dish towel laying on the floor].
From then on, we'd get out quickly, because once she'd found that One Thing; she'd done her job and we could go.

CJinPA said...

What really is going on with that? It's like something in a movie or a maudlin song (like "Scarlet Ribbons").

So now I've listened to Joan Baez and used one of my precious NY Times clicks, and I conclude the story was what it seems: What cheers her most is her husband, not the stuff he gives her.

When she said "hyacinths" he heard "flowers."

gilbar said...

When she said "hyacinths" he heard "flowers."

yep! It could very well be, that he had other things on his mind (like, the HORROR of life without her)

Ralph L said...

She's luck he didn't bring blue handkerchiefs or one of Agatha Christie's Blue Geraniums.

Hyacinths are supposed to smell nice, but like roses and fruit, the florist ones are bred for shelf life.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

But, for goodness' sake, why couldn't the husband get her the hyacinths? Were none available in all of Manhattan? Or was it just another case of excusing men - "oh, they're just guys, what do you expect? They can't get things straight."...

Couldn't be that maybe the husband went to the florist and was advised by a nice lady to buy daffodils, could it?

Nah, we know that would never happen in a million years!

Yancey Ward said...

She should have asked him to bring her a cheeseburger.

Yancey Ward said...

Or news of Trump's indictment.

Fernandistein said...

I brought flowers to the hospital and the next day the Nervous Nellie Nurses said I had to remove them because of some spoiled immunosuppressed people in the 'expensive care' ward might not like the germs in the flowers.

Fernandistein said...

I say if you can't handle the suppression, then don't do the immuno.

tim maguire said...

Or was it just another case of excusing men - "oh, they're just guys, what do you expect? They can't get things straight."

Pretty much. Guys know a dozen long-stem roses. If you want him to get it right, ask for a dozen long-stemmed roses.

Knowing flowers is not why you have a man around and the reality is, many women find it charming that something like this is so far outside a guy's expertise that he can't get it right. I bet he can change a flat on the side of the highway, though. Can this dingbat from Seattle?

A college roommate used to buy live flowers, then on the way to the girl's house, he'd tear them out of the pot so it looked like he stole them from the neighbor's garden.

Fernandistein said...

I looked it up later and it turns out that Datura flowers really don't have very many germs.

Freeman Hunt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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Dust Bunny Queen said...

Flowers are a nice gift, but one that I really never appreciated. They are going to wilt and die in a few days. When they do, they don't look so beautiful or cheery anymore. I'd rather have a live plant or something that I can can put into the yard/garden and admire year after year.

My mother always loved Yellow Roses. We put those on the top of her coffin for her funeral.

She was colorblind. Red/Green Blue/Brown Purple was a mystery to her....and not able to distinguish pastels at all. I always wondered just what those roses looked like to her. Ah well. She loved them. That is enough.

Rick said...

A single daffodil foretells a misfortune while a bunch of daffodils indicate joy and happiness.

Who makes up this shit and why would anyone accept invented assertions of meaning?

Michael K said...

The thermostat trolls are out today, I would not have one of those things on bet,

Sigivald said...

That flowers had traditional meanings tells us nothing, since only people who have gone out of their way to study those decrepit meanings know them.

They are not a living language, or relevant.

(And on point, if blue hyacinths were very difficult to find, that's sufficient. It need not be that "there were none in all of Manhattan", just none at the first place or three he asked.

A reasonable good-faith effort is all that anyone can sensibly ask.

Obviously she is not the sort of person that cares that much about a specific flower, and one hopes her husband knows that more than rando commenters.)

Yancey Ward said...

At least she didn't ask for a shrubbery.

Ralph L said...

Who makes up this shit

An old wife who's still half under anesthetic.

Hagar said...

Flowers are flowers.

Kevin said...

Hyacinth symbolizes playfulness and a sporty attitude and in its extreme rashness.

Man doesn't bring flowers, woman searches for meaning.

Man brings flowers, woman searches among the chosen flowers for even deeper meaning.

Kevin said...

"But I'd like the pie heated, and I don't want the ice cream on top, I want it on the side. And I'd like strawberry instead of vanilla if you have it. If not, then no ice cream, just whipped cream, but only if it's real. If it's out of a can, then nothing."

-Sally, When Harry Met Sally

Kevin said...

The Daffodil page on Wikipedia redirects to the page for Narcissus (plant).

Perhaps the man knew exactly what message he was sending?

Rocketeer said...

Daffodil symbolizes regard and chivalry. It is indicative of rebirth, new beginnings and eternal life. It also symbolizes unrequited love. A single daffodil foretells a misfortune while a bunch of daffodils indicate joy and happiness.

Once again, and as per usual, the man really does know better than the woman what she needs.

SF said...

'When she said "hyacinths" he heard "flowers."'

I have the exact same story about one of my music friends moving to San Diego -- when he said "San Diego", what I heard was "California". A couple of years later I happened to be in San Diego for work, and went to ridiculous lengths to go to the local Irish music session, when if I'd been on the ball I could have just called and said, "Hey, David, can I get a ride to your session?" and been done with it. Least I got to spend the evening hanging out with him.

Unknown said...

In Hamlet when Ophelia weaves her funeral headpiece ,she names all the flowers in the wreath , because Shakespeare's audience knew what they meant and understood why they were there . In the older Arden Editions of the text , there was a longish note to lay out the flowers' symbolism . In the current edition , it is not there, and some pomo LGTQRS dreck is in its place . So yeah hyacinths daffodils or whatever

Saint Croix said...

Blue hyacinth stands for constancy, purple for sorrow, red or pink for play, white for loveliness and yellow for jealousy.

I did Scarlet Begonias and I got this.

John Ray said...

Very color blind here. I do not know one flower from any other or any color from any other, and cannot name one, except the rose. As a result, I do not appreciate flowers or anything else made beautiful by displaying the various combinations of the spectrum of visible light.

The lady of the house always appreciates flowers being presented to her, knowing that I have no idea what I presented or will ever learn.

People always ask me "Do you miss not seeing colors?" I gave up explaining that I have no idea what they are talking about ... "colors". Next time I see a blind salamander, I will ask it "do you ever miss seeing?"

stevew said...

"But, for goodness' sake, why couldn't the husband get her the hyacinths?"

Who wants to know? And why are you second guessing the wife who says she was totally okay with the flowers he brought. Sheesh.

My wife just had some dental work done that she was quite anxious about because she hasn't had much done in her life and so does not know what to expect. Plus she's also very squeamish about needles. She didn't ask for flowers, just that I listen attentively to her fret about it as the big day approached. That was all the comfort she needed.

walter said...

You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes well you just might find
You get what you need

Be said...

Blue and yellow could be considered near complementary. My dad and all his brothers were subject to Daltonism, complementary color blindness. My dad always favored Blue, as he said it was Safe. Funny, in talking with my only niece, that her father, my dad's only remaining brother, feels the same way about Blue.

Be said...

*sorry, Cousin.

gilbar said...

People always ask me "Do you miss not seeing colors?" I gave up explaining that I have no idea what they are talking about ... "colors". Next time I see a blind salamander, I will ask it "do you ever miss seeing?"

way back when i rode motorcycles, i hit a deer; and was in a Coma for 3 days...
Later, MANY people asked me: "What was it like being in a Coma?"
and i would answer; "I don't know, you see; i was in a Coma at the time"