Flowers cover mistakes when memories of English class can’t

By Kevin Wilson

There are three main reasons a guy would enter a flower shop:
A) He screwed up and needs to make an apology.
B) He wants to use flowers to put material backing into his affection.
C) Both A and B.
I was at a flower shop recently, and I regret it was for reason A. The targets of my purchases probably had their own idea of what “A” stood for.
I’ll put it to you this way, so my editors don’t cut it: I stumbled into a conversation about breast size with two women, and no man exits that conversation unscathed, even if they are the two most compassionate, beautiful and non-judgmental women on the planet (just in case either one is reading this).
Fortunately I don’t make a weekly trek to buy flowers, but even for the sporadic trips I wish I had items from my youth — more specifically, items from Mrs. Stanford’s high school English class.
Catherine Stanford was a deliberate teacher, one who created a world where fun and discipline could exist simultaneously. Creativity was encouraged, late homework was not accepted and every literature test included at least one trick question. As a result, I and the other males of the 1996 class of Broadwater High School in Townsend, Mont., know a little more about “Steel Magnolias” than any other men on the planet.
She gave us useful information, like ways to say hello in numerous languages and what flowers carry what meanings (an item that would have proven useful in my floral journey).
For all of the rules, what made Stanford’s classes the best was the unwritten one — if it was funny, you weren’t in trouble.
Granted, I still came out on the side of trouble most of the time, but allowing me to not be afraid of creative outlets has helped me throughout life. Those creative outlets, combined with constant exposure to the O.J. Simpson trial, created some of the stranger high school papers you’ve ever seen. Imagine “To Kill A Mockingbird” with Robert Shapiro or Johnny Cochran playing the role of Atticus Finch.
Or there was the grade-posting incident, where Stanford posted a list of student grades on her classroom wall, with the condition that each student create a code name to keep their grades a secret to the rest of the class. My friend Craig Hohn and I didn’t put much stake in anonymity, so we simply found a way around Stanford’s system.
For the record, “craighohn” (me) always had a better grade than “kevinwilson” (Craig) on the grade postings. Also for the record, the name switch was funny, so we got away with it.
How I wish I still was back in Stanford’s classroom. I assume I’d be under a lot less stress, and a lot less likely to have to pay heavy floral expenses.
Alas, I am in the real world now, and flowers are the best way to get out of the doghouse with a girl. I don’t have the flower cheat sheet anymore, but I knew enough to A) find a flower that matched one girl’s favorite color and B) use a card for additional sweet talking (there weren’t any “breast conversation” cards, so I settled for the “huge apologies” collection).
By all indications, I’m not in trouble with either of the girls — and I’m likely one step ahead of future trouble. But what if someday I have to buy flowers again, for these girls or another, due to reason B or C?
I hope I can track down Stanford and that list before it’s too late.

Kevin Wilson is the managing editor of the Portales News-Tribune. He can be reached at 356-4481, ext. 33 or by e-mail: