Two Lips? No, Tulips!
by Robert Lovenheim
Driving my daughter to school brought up the subject of spring flowers. “In a week you’ll see the forsythia turning yellow and the daffodils starting to bloom,” I told her. “Too bad there are no tulips.”
“Two lips?” she answered.
“I’ve got two lips” – smack smack- “No, I mean tulips, the flower. When I was little they were everywhere, in all colors.” I started to sing, “come tip toe through the tulips with me.” I got a frown from the back seat. Adults are not supposed to sing.
There are no tulips in the Poconos. The deer ate them. I dropped her at school, determined to find tulips. The supermarket came up empty, so I followed a flower delivery truck to a log cabin half hidden in a grove of evergreens. I parked and walked in the front door. Sitting behind a broad desk was an 8-point buck in a swivel chair. I had never seen a deer sit in a chair. He turned toward me, smoking a corn cob pipe. “What can I do for you?”
“I wanted to know if I could buy some tulips for my daughter, she’s never seen tulips.”
“Of course she hasn’t, we’ve controlled the tulip market here in the Poconos for at least five hundred years. Had to outbid the squirrels. Let me show you something.”
I followed him into an immense back room where lines of does and younger bucks were sorting tulips into bunches, wrapping them in cellophane, and applying price tag stickers. “We buy directly from Aalsmeer in Holland, the largest tulip auction in the word.” He pointed at a TV monitor. “There’s today’s auction.” Sure enough, in the back row of the bidders, I could see two well-dressed does holding up their auction number as they bid on lots.
I picked my daughter up at school with a small bouquet of plastic tulips I found at Odd-lot. “Here you are my love, I’ll kiss you in the garden.”
She made a face, “Daddy, these are fake.”
I smiled at her in the rearview mirror, “Use your imagination—like I just did.”
Friends, it has been over a year now that the pandemic has overturned our lives. As spring unfurls and the flowers begin to bloom, take some time this week to bring a smile to someone’s face or share a fantastic story with a loved one. Perhaps slow down and smell the roses – or the tulips, if you can find some.