COLLEEN: I call my mother to tell her about my wonderful meeting with Donna O’Brian of Philly’s Beautiful Blooms. “Oh, what did the obnoxious woman have to say?” she asks. I elaborate on Donna’s ideas like having sheer pale lilac overlays on the tables. “Oh, the obnoxious woman suggested that?” I remind my mom that we have a meeting with Donna at her studio. “Do we have to meet with the obnoxious woman on Mother’s Day?” This line of talk stems from Donna’s initial price quote.
I protest. “She’s willing to work with our budget, mom! She’s not obnoxious at all.”
On Mother’s Day, my mother and I find Donna’s tucked-away little studio with its cheerful pink butterfly on the door. It’s cream-colored, calm and filled with lush flowers. About five minutes after we get there, the transformation begins:
As my mother flips through photos of Donna’s past events, she involuntarily begins to ‘ooh’ and ‘ah’ over the garland-draped bower and the citrus-fruit-filled vase and is gradually sucked further and further into Donna’s world: “What colors do the chiavari chairs come in?” my mother asks, reversing weeks of declaring that chair rentals are totally unnecessary. “That sprig of veronica on every napkin is the kind of touch people will really remember,” she states, forgetting her earlier pronouncement that people only remember the food.
As we drive away, she says approvingly, “Donna’s very sharp.” And I know I’ve won.