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Tradition of Mother’s Day corsages

By Staff | May 7, 2010

It has been going strong for 40 years. Some were pink, one of the very early ones was a splendid puff of ruffled yellow carnations, and a favorite was cluster of peppermint mini carnations. The boxes they arrived in were high, white and crisp and usually light-colored green inside. Upon opening the lid, your eyes would catch the glimmer of the cellophane bag often closed with one or two long pearl-top pins. Inside the bag was a friendship of new-culled flowers glowing in an attractive arrangement and treated tenderly with flowing pretty floral ribbon. Once the pins were removed, their engaging fragrance drifted upon the air. A lovely Mother’s Day corsage has been one of my hallmarks of Mother’s Day for many years.

My brother, Tom, worked at Evander’s Rexall Drug Store in Underwood during high school. At this time, there was not a flower shop in Underwood. However, Evander’s offered Mother’s Day corsages. Tom was the first son to present Mom with these blossoms of appreciation. From this first presentation, I have been enraptured with Mother’s Day Corsages. Since Tom would be heading off to college in the fall of 1971, I took over the responsibility of ordering Mom’s corsage (with the help of Tom) for Mother’s Day that year.

We knew that Mom would trust the day’s attire to one of her wool knit three-piece suits. We had, unannounced to her, selected her deep aqua suit. Mom had a real friendship with suits, and they never let her down when it came to looking smart. This particular assemble had a deep teal aqua skirt and matching shell. Its slice of life came from the jacket which was done in a lighter aqua and featured very thin deep purple and goldenrod stripes. We agreed that a corsage of light yellow carnations would complement the suit and also be in line with my paper route budget.

Seeing Mom’s eyes when she was presented this corsage was one of the finer things in life I have witnessed. We gave it to her just before we went to church. At St. John’s Lutheran Church in Underwood many women in the congregation were presented corsages on Mother’s Day. It is a warm and friendly feeling when looking around the congregations and you see distinctive blooms visiting shoulders of many ladies. Mrs. Art Wohl usually was presented a lovely orchid; Mrs. Roy Sayler, also a lover of three-piece suits, had a coordinating cluster; Mrs. Ida Hoppe, without a doubt, would be blessed with a few shades of pink. None were pompous but rather nosegays of appreciation. All were autographed by the touch of family members. Some knew their Mom’s favorite flower; other opted for selecting an arrangement in her favorite colors, and some had a fondness for coordinating the corsage with their mother’s dress.

Remembering our Mothers everyday is important. However, it is the extra effort that we make on Mother’s Day that warms them like sunshine rays. As I looked around the congregation, I also noticed a gentleman, Glen Iverson, wearing a single white carnation on the lapel of his suit. As I came to discover, this is a traditional way to honor your deceased mother. Although it is not a common practice today, it certainly brings joy and inspiration to see a grown man honor his mother in this way. In a very quiet way, this carnation can be either a color carnation honoring your living Mother or white carnation for a deceased Mother. Either one says, “Thank you, Mom, for enriching my life.”

Over the years, the corsages Mom has shouldered have had a great variety. I recall that one Mother’s Day she had to be on duty as a nurse, and I felt she should have an extra burst of color on her white uniform. Her corsage ended up being mini orange flames roses complete with matching chiffon ribbon extolled with threads of gold. As she made her rounds, this sunset spray created a dramatic touch to her uniform, and residents of the nursing home praised her petals. In fact, several residents articulated about eminent corsages that had long nodded off-however were still alive in their recollection. This floral meditation at twilight’s hush only added to Mom’s special day.

Mother’s Day calls us to thank all who have mothered us in our lives. It may be an aunt, friend, cousin, mother-in-law or even a neighbor. My current order for corsages is up to four, and I want to thank them all for the privilege of their presence in my life-for being faithful friends, trusting and sustaining me in every circumstance. It has been comforting to hear their voices say they wish me well or will be thinking about me. They have allowed me to enjoy opportunities to share laughter, tears, memories and hopes. This precious privilege has enriched me and our friendship forever.

It is often said that the sweetest name in the human language is Mother. It is, without a doubt, that for most the word Mother brings forth the foundation of our being and very character. It is this name that brings forth the voice that first read to us, who shared the importance of faith, held our hands, instituted hope in our hearts and still brought forth ample brown gravy! God knew we needed something more than purple mountain majesties, so he sent us mothers. We have all grown and blossomed by the hands, wisdom, and hearts of our mothers. Let us on this Mother’s Day remember them with buds of beauty for all they have done.

Repnow is a

Rugby resident.

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