I found myself experiencing homelessness in the Comox Valley ironically after fearing homelessness in my old home town of Winnipeg. I was able to rent a hotel room for the first three nights after losing my apartment but the nightly cost was $106.00 and this could not sustain itself any longer. Out of options and always turning lemons into lemon-aid, i found a campground to set up my tent-trailer. i had found my new temporary home.
One day I decided to buy a hanging basket of flowers to make my campsite even more beautiful than it could possibly be. I stopped in to the Thrifty Foods grocery store and found the perfect hanging basket bursting with colour. Unsure of how to get the flowers back to the camp site without the round bottomed basket tipping over, I realized that when the top is down it exposes two holes in the front window frame at each corner. Perfect! I simply hung the basket in the exposed hole above the passenger seat and drove “home.” All the way back in traffic people would yell out “I love your flowers,” or “I love your air freshener.”
I have driven Lemon-Aid (1966 Mustang Convertible) for 40 years now and always connected with people because of it. I decided to kick it up a notch and take the connection to social media. Excited and not feeling like cooking that night’s supper over an open fire I decided to treat myself to a hot meal at the Griffin Pub. The plan was to have decals made up for each corner of the front windshield and a much larger decal for the rear bumper advertising “Flower Power,” my second shenanigan. The decals said :
“If you decide to take these flowers you may need more Joy. Please pay it forward. If you would like to join me in my quest to meet more like minded people please visit my facebook group Comox Valley Social Experiment.”
Christine, my server at the Pub, loved what I was doing and ran out to the parking lot to see Lemon-Aid with the hanging basket of flowers. Christine became my first group member that night. I could not finish my meal so i picked up the take-out box on the bar table and read what Christine had written on the top – “The Flowerman.” I read what she had written, thought about it for a while and loved the name she had given me. The Flowerman was born.
The rest of the summer a hanging basket of flowers always traveled with me with the decals in place for all to see. I can’t tell you how many hanging baskets of flowers I gave away that summer. When someone wanted more joy the flower shop would replace the flower basket for me for free and with fertilizer too. I remember coming out of Canadian Tire to a large group of people gathered around Lemon-Aid with the kayak, sculptures and flower basket. One man said “I need more joy,” i told him to take my flowers, but to please pay it forward. He did and he would. In the fall of that year i was dating a beautiful woman from Victoria. She drove up for the weekend and we camped. It was a beautiful warm fall evening so we went to bed in my tent trailer leaving Lemon-Aid’s top down with flower basket hanging above the passenger seat. As usual, i was first out of bed and wandering out to the car i noticed my flower basket was missing all it’s flowers. When Kim awoke with the smell of freshly brewed coffee i asked her if she had deadheaded my flower basket? She had not. i told her “The deer that came for a visit last night needed more joy.”