Black Beans & RosesAs Anna prepared to depart for her honeymoon, she voiced a request in a manner moms know all too well… With a lilt in her voice, and a broad smile that revealed her delightful dimples, she cheerfully asked “Can you go over to my house and get the bouquet? It’s upstairs in a vase, and I sure would love it if you would dry the flowers.” What is a mom to say to such a dear daughter who asks so sweetly? The response from my smiling mouth was simply, “Yes.”

So, per her request, I carefully dismantled the ribbon bound flowers and separated out the individual roses in preparation for drying. I queried my husband for a quick and easy way to securely hang them upside down, thus allowing the blooms and stems to remain straight as they slowly transformed into a preserved keep-sake. He had a variety of ideas… all of which were workable, but I wanted something simpler. After listening to numerous creative suggestions, I asked, “How about hanging them someplace upstairs, where I can keep an eye on them?” Translation: “I don’t really want to search through the house, garage, and barn collecting what I need, followed by a trip downstairs–even though they would be out of the way. I am still recuperating from the exhaustion brought on by a whirlwind of wedding plans.” After considering my request, he replied, “Well.. you could staple them to a small board.” Pausing, he keenly observed my lack of response. “You don’t want to go get the board… do you?” I quickly replied, “Nope… I’m sure there must be something in the garage.” Upon surveying the storage area adjacent to the house, commonly referred to as “the garage”, we quickly located the perfectly sized piece of wood hidden amid the collection of “things & stuff” to which the flowers could be secured.

Poised with a fully loaded staple gun in his right hand, I handed off flowers one-by-one into his open left hand. Carefully positioning the stem near the edge of the board, the staple gun was placed directly atop, the staple ejected, firmly trapping the green stalk. Over and over again, as the shiny chrome handle was released, a noisy “wham” echoed through the still evening air as each stem was firmly attached and the flower heads hung down in submissive surrender.

All the flowers snugly attached to their new home, we proceeded back into the house. I was determined to locate the perfect place to hang them. Wanting it simple, I looked around and noticed the fireplace mantle. It was high enough for the flowers to hang unobstructed–out of the main flow of traffic–and more importantly provided a simple solution. I carefully placed the floral and wood creation on the mantle, and enthusiastically declared “It works!” In my simple and uncomplicated view of the world… it did! However, with a healthy dose of realism my husband commented “I’m not comfortable with the board just sitting there.” Translation: “The slightly warped wood could shift, fall, and the precious flowers would be ruined.” Tired, and with limited creativity channeled toward simple solutions, I offered “How about cans of corn weighing down the ends?” A sigh filled with hesitation escaped his lips, as he quietly retrieved cans of black beans from the pantry, placed them on the ends of the wood board to weigh down the improvised drying rack, and agreed we had a good solution.

My husband was eager to help solve my need yet I was too exhausted to cheerfully comply with his more elaborate ideas. Necessity drove our problem solving… It was absolutely necessary I put very little energy into this project, while accomplishing the mission before me. In the end, we had flowers lovingly hung on the fireplace mantle. I was able to look upon the cheerful addition of the floral embellishment from my kitchen and fondly recall a lovely wedding, and along the way discovered an unexpected and creative use for black beans and roses.