Missing the once vibrant feel of downtown DC was quite noticeable last week. If silence could be visually loud it would have hurt my ears. It definitely shook my soul. There were very few people on the street, less coming from the subway underground and the sounds of a bustling City were missing.
I am very much aware that we are in the midst of a pandemic. Some people were respectfully obeying the Mayor’s orders to wear a mask at all times. Others dismissed this, much to my chagrin. Missing were the smiles I was accustomed to seeing as I walked along the once busy streets of Washington, DC.
As a gardener, one key thing was profoundly noticeable when departing my office building recently. For as long as I have worked downtown there was a spot by the Metro Center subway that was guaranteed to make me smile. A man named Cornbread sold beautiful bouquets. Nope, they were not professionally created. That did not bother me at all. When I was in the midst of creating a bouquet for the office and noticed something was missing, Cornbread’s bouquets were there.
When a co-worker wanted to impress a date with a floral statement, I knew what to say. “Go down to see Cornbread at the corner. Pick up two mixed florals and add a bunch of the roses”, I would advise. “If that is not full enough add another bunch of the mixed flowers for a full floral statement. I am sure she will be impressed”. As I walked by his spot last week, missing Cornbread was at the forefront of my mind.
Missing his voice as he greeted me “Hello Dah-ling” as I would begin inspecting each floral bunch, picking the best of his beautiful bouquets. If I was not rushed, I would ask him to pick out his best bouquet. Standing patiently as he eyed each and every bunch, it was one of my favorite ways to pause on an otherwise hectic day. Selecting random bunches and gingerly wrapping each one in sheets of newspaper, he would begin to share. This was my way of spending time and pausing to show I cared. Cornbread would share his point of view about God, politics, and the garage dispute. His truck had just a little too much smoke coming from his tailpipe. I could always tell when he entered or recently left the garage. Missing the voice of an Elder known as Cornbread truly creates a void in my world.
As a native Washingtonian, the City that I once knew has become an unfamiliar place. I hope that one day, Cornbread will return to his spot above Metro Center selling hats, umbrellas, sometimes t-shirts, and his beautiful bouquets.
Do you miss moments that are familiar to your day as we continue to survive during this period of unintentional pausing?
While I know he may never see this, Iam truy missing Cornbread and his beautiful bouquets.
Teri, Cottage In The Court
I also wrote about my hometown pandemic observations hereby