just the right words

When I worked retail, a man came in search of a gift for his father.  He was dressed in a sports coat, and his lady friend hovered near the doorway.

The father-son relationship must have been strained as he deflected many of our suggestions.  It was a garden center after all, and a rose bush for a man wasn’t a completely ridiculous suggestion – if he were a gardener, that is.

But he didn’t seem to know the father’s interests or hobbies.

Finally he settled on something that sufficed.  He grudgingly made his way to the register.  That’s when he realized he should probably have a card.

I masked my surprise when he randomly plucked a greeting card from the stand, crossed out the birthday wishes, and hand wrote Happy Father’s Day before scrawling his name on the inside.

Having stood many a time deliberating over the perfect combination of wording and images, it was difficult for my high school self to fathom not at least opening the card first.

And to cross out the message?!

I suppose that was better than giving a card that didn’t fit the situation.

It seemed the action was breaking some rule.  But life isn’t always flowers and candy hearts.

It’s messy.

Love or being thoughtful looks different for different people.  The extra 30 seconds it took to re-word the card and sign it probably made the father’s day.

Maybe he wasn’t a rose guy in the end.  But there was an effort to make a connection on paper.  And that gesture doesn’t go unnoticed.



ps – is there some rule about crossing out pre-printed greeting card text and re-writing it?