Vases | Wilmington, NC | 2016

The waitress said the flower delivery was late that morning, so she hadn’t put the bud vases on the tables. Instead, she’d arranged them on a shelf in a dim corner behind the cash register. I noticed that every time she passed the shelf that she’d pause to adjust the vases’ positions, moving one to the edge, another to the back row, making sure they all lined up just right. She blew dust off one vase as I made my way past her to the hallway for the men’s room. A few steps down the hall a doorway opened to the kitchen where, on a stainless steel counter, stood a huge spray of bright yellow daisies. A sign written boldly in black felt-tip pen said, “One on each table! Do it now!” The waitress came up behind me and squeezed past to fetch two big platters of biscuits and gravy. She walked within a foot of the flowers — couldn’t have missed them. Hmm. We had a great breakfast and lingered over cups of delicious coffee. About an hour total. The waitress repeatedly adjusted the rows of vases, but never brought out a single daisy.