Many years ago, as preteens growing up in Hungary, my sister and I enjoyed Easter more than any other holiday.
The much-anticipated highlight came on Easter Mondays. On that day — as was the habit in Hungary, where we lived with our grandparents — boys near our age were encouraged to visit the girls they knew. At the front door, they would ask: “Is there a flower in this house?”
If the answer was positive, they would ask to see the flower and water it. Watering meant spraying a water-and-cologne mixture on the girl, and in return receiving a painted Easter egg. For my sister and me, the more offensive we smelled by the end of the day by being sprayed with a host of cheap perfume, the happier we were. To us, this could only mean that we were popular with the opposite sex.
On one Easter Monday, my grandmother answered the door. The young boy standing at the door asked my grandmother if he could spray her, since as a flower she needed to be sprayed. My grandmother responded, “But I am an old flower.”
The boy, whose savvy and profound wisdom I admire to this day, responded by saying, “An old flower, but still a flower.” And proceeded to spray her with cheap perfume.
You cannot imagine my grandmother’s delight. Normally a very private woman, she proceeded to tell this story to anyone who would listen. Not only on that day, but for many years to come.
And now it’s my turn to tell her story, with love and gratitude.
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