By Bill Hudgins, columnist
With Valentine’s Day coming up fast, countless truckers will be desperately searching for flowers to give their valentines back home.
From the dinky, wilted, overpriced single roses at the local fuel-n-go to full-size bouquets, flowers rank as one of the top gifts on Feb. 14.
And – you guessed it – that’s because trucks make fresh, relatively cheap flowers available anywhere, anytime.
A few years back I wrote an article about Florida-based Armellini, which is regarded as a veritable sequoia in flower trucking. Talk about intermodal: A lot of their flowers are flown in from South and Central America to Miami International Airport.
Unlike the human passengers who stand wilting in line, the flowers get VIP treatment. They’re whisked through customs thanks to an Armellini division set up specifically to clear them in a hurry. (“Welcome to Miami, Mr. Rose. Do you have anything to declare?” “Yeah, bud, I’m late for a very important date, so let’s get a move on!”)
From there, waiting reefers rush them to distributors and, quite often, to individual flower shops. There’s a lot of LTL in the floral delivery biz, which is why those drivers often look so … bushed.
But back to Valentine’s Day.
Just as truckers have CB slang, flowers have a language all their own. Most people don’t know the meanings today, but with Google you can quickly find out how to say just the right thing to your sweetie. More important, she can find out what you’re saying, too.
For instance, while red roses mean “love,” yellow roses mean “forgive and forget” – which could lead to some awkward questions. Pink carnations tell the recipient “I will never forget you,” yellow carnations say “no,” and red carnations imply “yes.”
So if finding the right words to express how you feel comes hard, maybe you could say it with flowers instead.
For instance, a romantic driver who sends his valentine a bouquet of dandelions is clearly willing to promise a lot, but finds it tough to deliver on time.
If you’ve been on the road a long time, maybe the person who keeps the home fires burning should get a spray of forget-me-nots or heart’s ease (a kind of pansy).
On the other hand, if you’ve been promising to be home for several weeks and still haven’t made it, send her a bunch of impatiens. Ask the florist to include some small pine twigs, so she’ll know how much you long to be there.
If you haul fancy cars like sometime Land Line columnist Dave Sweetman, a simple lotus flower for your sweetie tells her how precious she is to you.
“Sharon” is a pretty widely used name for a lady, but she’ll feel special if you present her with a rose of Sharon. If your lady is a little shy, a primrose might be appropriate.
If you’re a new parent, bring home a pot of baby’s breath for mom and the little one.
For those of you who like to make up pet names for your loved one, send some buttercups or sweet peas.
If she likes The Grateful Dead, some scarlet begonias for her hair would be just the ticket. If she’s a party animal, how about a wild rose? And a woman who can’t pass up a shoe store deserves a lady’s slipper.
Floral doesn’t mean strictly flowers, of course. There’s a whole range of greenery to choose from. For instance, if she loves Chinese food, sending her a bamboo plant says, “we’re ordering in as soon as I get home!”
Is she tough to live with sometimes? Think cactus if you dare. If she’s silly, maybe some monkey grass. If it’s always all about her – a narcissus.
Of course, the language of flowers is a two-way conversation. Break too many promises and you might wind up with a bouquet of bachelor’s buttons.
As for me, I’m hoping my sweetie will send me the same thing this year as she has for many others – Sweet William.
Here’s hoping you have a bloomin’ good Valentine’s Day. Until next time, be safe, make money and get home often. LL