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Howdy. We've moved from Cayce, but St. Elizabeth of South Rose Hill or Lizette de Waccamaw de Sud just don't do it for me.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Yellow Roses

20 years ago tonight, I was staying at what was then called the Carolina-Duke Inn (corner of Guess Road & 1-85, now:, an inexpensive home-away-from-home for the week I spent doing job interviews in Durham.
I'd been disappointed at the Duke job, which was advertised as a Peds AIDS clinic, but which had morphed into a geriatric practice, for which I, as a pediatric nurse practitioner, was spectacularly unqualified. I'd had a good interview with the Durham County Health Department, but they didn't really need a PNP. This trip out from Dallas was winding down, and I really needed to land a job. We were leaving Texas for Izzy to start his Classics degree at Duke in August, and I'd be leaving the 3-in-1 jobs in the Foster Care Clinic, Day Surgery Unit, and Newborn Nurseries at Children's Medical Center of Dallas and Parkland Hospital.
On my last day in town, I had scheduled an interview with the Durham Developmental Evaluation Center. Folks who've known me for a while know that I got that job, and worked there until I got the state Child Health Nurse Consultant position with DEHNR in 1994. Here's a bit you might not recall, so many years later.
I needed to check out the morning of July 23, 1992, and drive to Columbia after my DEC interview. I would leave my car there, and fly back to Dallas to prepare for our move. I had packed up the car, after making sure I was well-dressed for the interview, when I received a call from the office. There, waiting for me in a lovely round gray clay vase, were 9 saucer-sized long-stemmed yellow roses. Gorgeous! Glorious! The perfect gift for our 9th wedding anniversary, the first (I think *only*) on which we'd been apart. They'd been delivered from Ruth Hall Florist, and were the most beautiful bouquet I'd ever received.
Only, and here's what makes something like this story memorable, they presented a bit of a dilemma. I had the aforementioned interview around 10 AM. It's July 23. The interior heat of my Hyundai Excel was sure to destroy these flowers if I leave them there, and there is no way to extend my use of the motel room. I decided to be bold, and carried the roses into the DEC office, at the time in portable buildings affixed to the old Lennox children's hospital on Erwin Road.
I asked if there were somewhere I could put the flowers during the interview. Each of the administrative support staff volunteered her desk- I forget who "won" possession for the 90 minutes or so that I was there. After the interview, I collected my flowers, thanked the staff profusely, headed back out and drive to my parents' home in Columbia.
Wheels of government hiring processes move slowly. We left Dallas at the end of July, arriving in Durham the first week of August. No job offer yet. Another week passed- nothing. I called the office frequently, and was always put through to the director, though. I later found that not all calls made it to him. The staff remembered me as the lady with the roses, and, as I learned later, thought I was a nice person. It took waiting and perseverance, but I got the job. I have to think that the help i got from those staff helped my cause.
Izzy has always loved giving me accoutrements, whether flowers sent to my office for no reason, jewelry or other gifts that he hides for me to find, lovely scarves that are sure to elicit questions about their provenance, etc. His goal is to make me look special, to let others know how much he cherishes me. Those roses made me legendary in that job, topped only by the 4 sets of roses in 4 days for our 10th anniversary (a post for another day.)
20 years have passed. The roses are long gone (I left them in SC for Mom to enjoy when I flew back to Dallas.) The pot finally cracked. The Hyundai was left in a scrap yard in Galesburg, IL. Nothing tangible remains from that day.
However, the man sitting opposite me in our Rosewood bungalow still looks at me with the same smile that the young man did when I returned to Dallas, only with even more love. I still cherish him with all my heart, and am so grateful for the wonderful memory he made for me 20 years ago.
Happy 29th anniversary, my Darling!