It’s hallmark Love day weekend, and businesses everywhere are selling over and undersized stuffed animals holding hearts with embroidered messages such as “I love you”, “Sweet for you”, insert “your own” love message here. Let’s not forget to mention the plethora of valentine’s day themed candies, wine, even dispensaries selling edibles marketed specifically for the 14th day of February. It’s amusing enough to make the participants to spectators shrug and engage in some capacity… whether that involves another party or not.
This year my intention was to be open and flow with it all. After an inadvertent day of errands and semi-planned self-care appointments, I was feeling quite sweet on myself & feeling called to purchase some flowers before I head home. I was en route and noticed a side-of-the-road vendor selling all the things for V-day. That’s the beauty of supply and demand, high demand holidays give leeway for high supply, or in this case 5 blocks from my house accessibility. Bump Target or Safeway, respectfully. Support your local vendors.
The road area this vendor selected to post was tucked right next to a 2 way road. Traffic got a little tighter as cars would merge and pass by. The sun was beginning to set, and the winter wind was almost as fast as the cars passing by. It wouldn’t be an ideal spot to just park some lawn chairs and chill. Which is why this Mom-and-Pop, moreso Tita-Tito/Lola-Lolo couple was chilling in the car when I pulled up. I put my car on blinkers and walked up to the elderly couple’s stand to scan what they had to offer. There were circular white buckets stuffed with fuchsia & green daisies, roses, and carnation assortments, arranged strategically in different bundle sizes. I greeted the elderly man and took my time looking through their offerings. As my eyes finished scanning the lot, they locked onto a simple, medium sized assortment containing 1 single rose in the middle. I pointed to them and picked it up. “That will be $10 dollers”, Tito said. I noticed his Filipino accent, and asked “Filipino ka ba, po?” (Are you Filipino, sir?) He took a second to hear me, smiled, nodded and asked if I was too. “O po,” (Yes, sir) I responded, which in the Philippines, addressing your elders meant to show politeness and respect. Elders love being addressed as o po, especially in America. I love addressing them as such, because that is what elders deserve. He asked where I was from and I thought of all the provinces my family was from. I thought of my Lola first and said, “sa Bulacan, po”. As the sound of cars whisked by, he lit up just like the golden hour sun on our winter coats. It was a true tribe mentality recognition moment, yielding smiles and warm nods as we exchanged small conversation on recalled memories of the Philippines. I asked what part he was from and looked to the car and noticed an elderly woman, assumed to be his wife with a beanie that had “Baguio City” stitched across it. She was almost as short as he was, maybe just shy of 5 feet, bundled up. The 3 of us locked eyes after I waved to her and she smiled back. After I went to my car and grabbed cash to pay Tito, I added a few extra dollars. He inquired why I was being generous in Tagalog, and I replied, “Make sure you don’t forget Tita’s flowers too”. He laughed as we bid goodbye and said “You know you’re suwerte (good fortune), because Bulcanos are royalty”. I laughed, thanked him, and we parted ways. If it wasn’t as windy and the road was quieter, I wanted to let him know I think we’re all “royalty”, and thus special.
About 2 stoplights later, I realized I could’ve asked to take their photo for my #oldyounglove project, but forgot. Maybe next time.