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Love is on the way for many today on Valentine’s Day

Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat — Sherry Hanson delivers Valentine’s Day flowers to Kyla Watson Thursday.
Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat — Sherry Hanson delivers Valentine’s Day flowers to Kyla Watson Thursday.

NATCHEZ — Brenda Zerby was a college student at Ohio State when the man who would later become her husband asked if she wanted to help out for Valentine’s Day at the flower shop he was managing.

“I didn’t know what I was agreeing to,” she said. “I didn’t know the impact of Valentine’s Day, and little did I know how busy I would be. That was my first indoctrination into what would be my life.”

Forty-two Valentine’s Days later, Zerby is still working with flowers. Now she’s at Moreton’s Flower Land, one of a select group of people who get to celebrate, in some sense, the love of the entire community.

“It just gets better and different every year, because the cast of characters are different,” she said.

“The delivery people, they actually reap the rewards of everybody’s work because they get to see the instant reaction of people receiving flowers, and no matter how many times you do it and no matter how many times someone has received flowers before, it is that surprise that rewards you.”

What makes Valentine’s Day memorable for those delivering flowers is what makes it memorable for those receiving them, unique ideas.

Nelda Gregory has worked with flowers for 29 years, but Valentine’s Day four years ago stands out in her mind because a man ordered a dozen roses for his wife for every hour she was at work.

“Every time we walked in, she said, ‘Those are not mine,’ but it was,” Gregory said. “We ended up sending nine different color roses.”

Others, rather than using flowers to express only a romantic interest, want to make sure everyone knows they are loved in their own way.

“We had one man come in and order flowers for all the ladies in the office,” The Flower Station’s Denise Anding said. “He’s not the boss, he just works there.”

But sometimes missing a small detail can change a romantic Valentine’s gesture into a head scratcher.

“One time this guy kept calling me and calling me and changing his order, so his name was stuck in my brain, and I put his name on the card I was working on,” Anding said. “The wrong guy’s name was on the card, and I sent it to this guy’s wife, and she was not happy. That didn’t go over too well, but we have laughed about it over the years.”

But in the end, people are always delighted to receive something beautiful and to know they’ve been remembered, said Sherry Hanson, who has for the last three years delivered for Ja’Nel’s Flowers on Valentine’s Day.

“The benefit of delivering, to see their joy and happiness, that is why I like to do it,” Hanson said.

The bulk of flowers delivered on Valentine’s Day are delivered to women from men, but Nan McNeil with Moreton’s said deliveries that flow in the other direction are always memorable.

“For men, the reaction is always, ‘These are for me? I have never gotten flowers before,’” she said. “The guys won’t admit it, but they are really flattered they got the flowers. Their faces light up, the eyes sparkle and you see this most gorgeous smile. It just warms your heart to see the admiration, joy and happiness of getting flowers.”

A massage therapist by trade, Hanson said she feels like in some way Valentine’s Day flowers are healing.

“A lot of the people I deliver to are home alone or elderly, and I think they have a special place in people’s hearts and a special need in being remembered,” she said. “I feel like Valentine’s Day is worth every nickel spent on flowers and candy and bears because it is worth touching someone’s heart, and for me, being the courier of that, is really delightful.”