A Little Lenten Aloha

Phoenix Palms found at Home Depot in IwileiLent has been quite a struggle this year.  Many of us have been sick, Mom spent time in the hospital again, taxes are still looming around, and there is a multitude of life’s other dramas rearing their ugly heads.

Sometime back (a few years ago) I took it upon myself to put the palm leaves together for Church, to be blessed and shared with the faithful on Palm Sunday.  Because I live in a condo, palm leaves are not always easy to come by.  You would think that, since we live in Hawai’i, finding those palms would be simple. Right? Not necessarily.

To avoid “borrowing” branches and leaves off the side of the road, or worse, every year I buy a couple of little trees from one garden shop or another.  I take the little guys outside to my car, cut off the bulk of leaves, and then take the newly-sheared plants back into the store I got them from — so they can give them away to another customer who might like some free plants!  You should see the looks I get!

This year, even buying these little trees was a problem.  The ones I found were, to put it kindly, sort of scrubby looking.  I finally resigned myself to a couple of Phoenix Palms that were for sale at Home Depot in Iwilei.  While telling the cashier about my annual palm activity she looked a little puzzled.  The conversation went something like this:

“That’s all you want, just the leaves?”

“That’s it,” I replied. “I’ll bring them back and you can give them to whoever wants ’em.”

“Oooh, I would like those!” she said, actually taking an interest in the conversation.

“Are you serious?”  I asked, a little amused.  She nodded eagerly and I couldn’t help but smile at her.  “Then they’re yours!  I’ll be right back.”

The way she said it was so sweet and so sincere.  She didn’t think I was coming back.  Yeah, you got it, she took them home.  They were pretty bald but she was so happy to have them and thanked me for the gift. I gave her a hug and wished her a Happy Easter.  As I confirmed that she had a copy of the receipt so her employer wouldn’t accuse her of stealing, she still seemed incredulous.

Palms and pussy willows for Palm SundayTo lighten things up a little I grinned at her and said, “I’ll come see you next year to cut their branches off!”  She giggled and said she would let me know.  I needed that fun experience.  Just a moment of sharing a giving moment with a stranger who appreciated it — lent, and my life, go just a little bit better.  Seems odd?  I think so too.  I couldn’t help but want to share it here.

The picture on the right is what they became.  Since I attend a Russian Orthodox Church, it is tradition to include pussy willows because Russia has no palms.  At this time of year, the flora most in bloom in Russia is pussy willows — they grow even when snow still covers the ground!  So, we take palm leaves, some stalks of pussy willows, and tie them with a bow to be blessed!  That way we take advantage of both tradition and Tradition.

Do we grow pussy willows here?  Uh, not that I know of!  Watanabe Floral always takes care of that for me, and other floral needs, every year.  I also got the bows from them — and very beautiful bows they were!

Aloha spirit all around?  You bet!  Sending a huge mahalo out to Home Depot for hiring the right people and to Watanabe Floral for what they provide and for having the best staff that tolerate me, even when I’m horrid and grouchy!  Of course, flowers do tend to put us in a better mood.  🙂

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