A knock at the door

It starts with an unexpected knock on the door. “Are we expecting anyone?” the residents ask.

Probably not if it is Charles McClelland with a smile on his face and a bouquet in his hands. He works part time delivering flowers for a local shop.

“Every once in a while they are shocked. You can see by the expression on their face that they are surprised. A lot of people don’t get flowers, so it is a big deal when the flowers arrive.”

McClelland has delivered flowers 10 years and has delivered to some folks many times. “If I know them well enough, I will sing happy birthday or serenade them,” he said.

“I never thought delivering flowers would be exciting, but it is. It is all about making a good day for someone. It is a pick-me-upper. It is someone saying, ‘I thought about you and want you to have a good day.’ It is like what God tells us to do, ‘love your neighbor.’ We give people gratification through flowers.”

One of his most surprised recipients was a woman in her mid-80s.

“It was a single flower. A single daisy in a small vase. I went to the door and knocked. She came to the door. She opened it, saw the flower and had a beautiful smile on her face. ‘Is this for me?’”

“Yes ma’am. It’s your lucky day.”

She stopped and looked at him doubtfully. “Am I getting ready to die?”

“Ohh, no ma’am,” he started to protest. When she said, “’It must be this group I am in that sends flowers sometimes.’”

“She had me open the card. It was the group. She had tears in her eyes and was happy to see me.

“It was an eye opener and gratifying to to get to know her. I had to deliver flowers to her a couple times after that. She always wanted to give me a tip. I would say, ‘No ma’am.’”

Special events during the year keep semi-retired McClelland hopping: Prom season, Secretary’s Day, Mother’s Day and especially Valentine’s Day. “That is the busiest time of the year,” he said.

Preparation for Valentine’s Day begins weeks ahead of time with the florist ordering the estimated number of flowers and vases needed based on the previous year’s demand. A map is drawn for the three to four part-time drivers who will carry flowers through the county.

“We started delivering on Thursday. The deliveries are sorted out so we are not going back and forth. We work late. They ask the customer, ‘Do you want this in the morning, afternoon or evening?’ They try to get all morning deliveries before noon. We start loading up around 7 in the morning and begin delivering around 8:30 and deliver until 5 or 5:30.”

“We delivered Thursday and Friday. I am sure we had some orders that had to be done on Saturday. It depends on when the order came. If we get them out on Friday, or people call in, or it went to wrong address it will be corrected.”

“Very seldom do people say, ‘I don’t want this.’ Sometimes, I can see by the expression on their face. I don’t say anything. I just make sure the flowers are delivered and hopefully who ever gets it is happy.”

“Sometimes the person is not satisfied with the arrangement they ordered. Then I go back and they fix it up and try again.”

Still, 95 percent of the time McClelland’s knock is welcomed and the flowers he delivers bring a spot of happiness to folks and a smile to his day as well. Of course he smiles! He gets to surprise people with flowers.

About jottingjoan

retired former newspaper writer. Many children and grandchildren. One husband.
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