As we were leaving the ballroom on Saturday night, the staff inquired if we wanted the flowers the next day. They offered to store them in a cooler over night and help load them in our car in the morning. We were having a picnic for our out of town guests at our house the next day, a tent and tables had already been set up, so we were happy to bring home several centerpieces.
Early Sunday morning, before the coffee had taken effect, we were met in the parking garage with carts of flowers, more than we would ever use. Not knowing what else to do, we filled our car and my sister in law took the remaining arrangements. They did look great that afternoon on the tables and deck in our backyard. As family and friends were leaving, we sent home as many arrangements as possible. However only a few of our guests were within driving distance and it’s not easy to carry a large centerpiece on an airplane.
Monday morning found us with still more beautiful flowers than we could appreciate so my son and I started taking them down the street to share with neighbors. Some had been at the wedding and were delighted to enjoy the beauty a few more days. Many of my neighbors are elderly and I realized by their stunned expressions that receiving flowers was not a common occurrence. I even met a couple new people. Walking home, I realized that giving the flowers away had brought me more pleasure than holding on to them.
This year the Women’s Fund is beginning a campaign to focus on the issue of loneliness. What can each of us do, individually and as a community, to combat those feelings, especially common in the elderly? I discovered that friendly conversation and this simple gift could have an impact. Maybe next time I’ll bring a plate of cookies.
Peggy Wagner is a volunteer for the Women’s Fund of the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation.