Too lovely to toss

“If you like roses,” the cashier at Trader Joe’s in West Newton said this afternoon as she lifted the last bag of groceries into my cart, “you can select a bouquet to take with you.” On the floor at the end of her counter was a brimming bucket of flowers, and there were similar buckets lining the aisle to the exit.

“Leftover roses from Valentine’s Day,” I asked, the answer being obvious. “Yes,” she replied, “but you shouldn’t look at them as leftovers.” She’s exactly right. These aren’t this weekend’s trash but lonely flowers in need of adoption. Not being particular, I grabbed the first bouquet my hands fell upon: a double-dozen long-stemmed roses that would have cost a pretty penny a few days ago.

On my way to my car, I saw several women exiting the store with their carefully selected bouquets cradled like babies: one carried a mixed nosegay of roses and tulips, and another carried a small handful of still-closed rosebuds. Each woman was smiling, as I suspect I was, at her unforeseen good fortune.