Flower Child

So florals are big this spring. They’re showing up on everything from dresses to pants to bags.

I’ve always been big on florals. Maybe not on fabric – the wrong print can make the wrong person look like they’re wearing Aunt Bertha’s curtains – but who doesn’t love having flowers in their life? Living in a place without a garden of my own, I desperately miss having fresh flowers. I try to buy cut flowers but a certain family member seems to consider them salad.

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Flowers from the Bird Lady


Parkdale, my neighbourhood since 1993, is known for its many characters. People who make the place unique and colourful, people who definitely dance to their own drummer. For 90 some-odd years, one of those characters was Annie Ross. Born in the building that stands on the south-west corner of Queen and Dunn in 1913, she lived there her entire life until her death in 2004. Miss Ross never married, instead running her family’s flower shop at the front of the building, and spending her retirement years in a small apartment at the back where she was known for feeding the local pigeons; thus her nickname, The Bird Lady.

Miss Ross could tell you stories of how Parkdale had changed and grown. She could remember when the lot directly across the street from her on Dunn was a field for horses. She could tell about how the buildings went up along Queen, or how the mansions along Jameson came down to make way for apartment buildings. And she could tell you about books. In a 4-minute short documentary filmed before her death, she talks about how she began keeping track of all the books she read in her lifetime, some 8,600 different titles.

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Hearts and Flowers

Greg came home with the very best Valentine’s Day gift ever. It wasn’t roses, or chocolates or tacky lingerie. It was a recount of a cell phone conversation he overheard on the streetcar on his way home.

The woman seated in front of him dialed up what was obviously her live-in boyfriend. And went about dropping hints left, right and centre, mentioning Valentine’s Day several times and even specifically asking her spouse to “pick up some flowers on the way home for dinner”.

Except that hubby was either dense, not into the Valentine’s game or was really just not that into her, because, as Greg recounted, her next statement was, “Oh. You’re going to the bar.”

There was some more mentions of picking up some flowers (hint, hint, hint), and finally, a “Have fun at the bar!” which no doubt was uttered with the most guilt-inducing tone she could muster. Greg also indicates that he was able to hear the line disconnect just as the woman said “I love you,” in a sad, tiny voice.

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