“Good things can happen in mom’s flower shop”

Pat Follis (1933-2020)

Here is my mom in the flower shop she owned for a few years when I was boy. The summer I was 8, mom was 29. That’s about when this picture was taken.

Mom was 5-foot 8-inches, and this is how I remember her when I was boy. In 1960, Dad and mom built a new ranch-style house in Hoxie, Kansas (far Northwestern Kansas, close to both the Colorado and Nebraska borders). The house had a single-car garage on the north side. But there never was a car in that garage. Not that I ever remember anyway. That’s because the garage got transformed into a flower shop not long after we moved into our new home. It included a working bench that you see here in the picture, and a big walk-in cooler for the flowers that you can’t see.

The house rule was that when mom was working kids stayed out of the flower shop. Customers came and went, and mom didn’t need 4 little kids underfoot. My grandpa and grandma had moved into town from the farm by then, and grandma was at our home a lot trying to corral we kiddos, while mom worked.

On the rare occasion when we did enter the flower shop from the house, we had to use our very best manners. Mostly, though, it was off limits, since it was mom’s place of business.

But one evening my dad and I went into the flower shop. Just the two of us. Man to man. No, I had not misbehaved, but I had developed a boil just above my left knee that had grown so large I could hardly walk. I was miserable, hobbling along, barely able to walk. Well, finally that bad ole boil developed a head. That evening my dad got the honor of doing business with that boil while I sat on a chair in mom’s flower shop.

I told dad he couldn’t touch my leg, even though I was miserable and badly needed some relief. Well, dad had a plan. He told me to put my hands on each side of my left leg, one on each side of the boil. Apply some pressure with your hands, he said. A tiny bit of pus oozed out. But then dad placed his hands on top of mine. Suddenly, before I knew it a geyser shot 6 inches in the air. Once the pressure was released, I told dad to get more of that poison out of my leg, and we went after it.

I healed up just fine, but that bad boy left a scar above my left knee that I have to this day. And I’m still showing it off. 🙂

After dad and I had done all the doctoring we could, we stepped up the two stairs that led from the flower shop into the house. “You did it,” he said. “See, good things can happen in mom’s flower shop.”