Mom's Geranium (Dedicated to the memory of Lillian Arnold, and a tribute to Mrs. Vera Brown, of Forked River, New Jersey) It happened nearly every year in that first week in May, us kids would pool our savings for a gift for Mother's Day. We'd get out our penny banks, count every cent we had, and if we didn't have fifteen, we'd have to go to Dad. For though to us, in those days, fifteen cents was quite a sum, that's how much it cost for Mom's geranium. Our pennies clutched in sweaty hands, we would hurry down to the neighborhood hothouse, run by Mrs. Brown. We'd follow her to her glass house and down a little stair. In memory I smell fragrances of flowers blooming there. She always let us pick the best geranium we could find, and if we took her choicest plant, she never seemed to mind. She treated kids the same as any other customer, she had a lot of patience, and kids had respect for her. She'd wrap it 'round with green waxed paper, after we had paid, and we would proudly carry home the purchase we had made. And it was worth it all on Mother's Day to see the eyes of our mother when she saw her annual "surprise." - Lillian Arnold Lopez "Pineylore"