Valentine’s Day volunteers spread joy and love, and maybe a little envy

Valentine's Day volunteers spread joy and love, and maybe a little envy

As he stands in a sea of Valentine’s Day bouquets, the Rev. Paul Labig checks his delivery list at Country Elegance Florist, 2990 Patterson Road, Wednesday morning. People from several church groups gathered at the floral shop to spend the day delivering the flowers as a fundraiser. Labig is the associate pastor at Church on the Rock.



Flowers are not things to expect. They are wished for and hoped for.

Eyes follow a bouquet as it’s carried through the front door and up to the reception desk. There is longing in those eyes: Maybe it’s for me?

“Another flower delivery?” said the lady in pink at the Mesa County Health Department Thursday morning. “Boo.”

“Maybe it’s for you,” said Jim Connery hopefully. “Is your name Betty?”

“No.”

So, there is longing and let-down, and the unfading possibility of love. Connery delivered it Thursday — Valentine’s Day — helping out his friends at Country Elegance Florist on one of their busiest days of the year. He was one of nearly two dozen volunteers from various area churches who made the deliveries and earned some money for church programs.

“It’s fun!” said Dave Lister, whose wife, Terri, is a designer at Country Elegance. “You’re delivering smiles.”

Connery, retired from the Grand Junction Fire Department after more than 30 years, has delivered them for almost 10 Valentine’s Days, plump roses and tulle butterflies, dark chocolates with raspberry centers, mylar balloons tethered by curled pink ribbon. He has seen the eyes follow him as he walks into an office or waiting room, the joy bloom as he stands on a front porch holding love in all its vivid, velvety beauty.

“I enjoy doing it,” he said Thursday morning, steering a white Country Elegance van onto Patterson Road. Secure in foam behind him were vases of red roses with baby’s breath, lilies and daisies and Technicolor orchids.

First stop: All Terrain Motor Sports, where the roses were for a guy, sent to him by a girl, accepted with the casual aplomb of a mechanic surrounded by a bunch of sniggering dudes. It’s impossible not to guess and wonder. Is it love? Are they friends? Does she want to be more than friends?

Connery hopped back into the van and headed to the Health Department. After meeting the disappointed lady in pink, he mentioned that he’d probably take some of the extra flowers to her after he was done with his deliveries. Valentine’s Day is about many kinds of love.

Delores sent roses to her daughter, Shari. Thomas sent brilliant daisies and lilies to Anita. And Jessica at Professional Case Management couldn’t initially guess who the roses were from.

“Are they from you?” she asked her co-worker, who’d giddily plopped into a chair opposite Jessica’s to admire the blooms. The co-worker shook her head no. They shrieked in unison when Jessica opened the card, and Connery exited the office smiling.

They were glad he’d come. At the Olive Garden, at the Grand Junction Police Department, at U.S. Bank and Old Chicago, they were glad he walked through the front door with the yellow roses and box of chocolates, the snapdragons and iridescent hummingbirds, the floral embodiment of love fulfilled.

There were pangs of jealousy, sure, and there were longing sighs, but mostly there were wishes and hopes fulfilled.


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