A Penny
Off the Wall, June 26,
2014

I think the American language is made up of more expressions and nicknames for people, both good and not so good. I’m sure you’ve noted right away, I didn’t say English, because we are not English speaking people. Oh, I think the telephone and packaging companies may feel that they are spot on when they note English in reference to the button one is to push or the labeling we see. But really, they are ‘not politically correct.’

Recently, I was looking for a phone number in my telephone directory booklet published by Hallmark, when I came upon a page that was headed, ‘Flowers + Meanings.’ As I glanced down through them, I hit upon one which aroused my curiosity. It was a pansy.

I love to see those purple little flowers as they stand erect gazing into the sun-lit gardens proud as proud can be, making their pedals seen by all who look at them. But, they need not be purple for I’m told. They do come in a variety of colors as well.

But, as much as I would like to think that I am an expert in garden growths, I am far from that, I’m afraid. It was the name I was attracted to more than anything else. When I think of pansies, I don’t think immediately of flowers, but people.

I think our culture has strayed away from its original slang meaning of being effeminate. In addition, I think of a human being as being unwilling to try even the easiest task. Here’s an example (not necessarily true, but could be). “Hey, Rodney, you ought to taste this turtle soup. It is really good.” ‘A pansy’ will ignore the small dish of this this wonderful food put beside his place setting on the table where he is sitting.

Is it going against my Christian principles to call him this slang name? I feel I can gist with him and do so in a loving way. Teasing isn’t really a tactic of the devil, I feel. I always tell people, if I like them, I will tease them. If I don’t, I won’t say a word. That’s not to say, God hasn’t given me a love for everyone. He has, and He has showered me overwhelmingly. It is just how people receive it. I have learned that not all are walking the same walk. Thus, they may not feel the Spirit being transmitted in my little quips.

It was interesting to learn that pansies were a member of the Violet family. The meaning of that flower is faithfulness. What in Sam hill is a faithful pansy, now you tell me?

The most popular flowers given to girls for prom night this year, according to a Greensburg florist, were roses. That’s understandable because each one has a positive meaning. For example, the pink rose signifies perfect happiness. Maybe a recipient got a white rose. She received this color as a result of her charm and innocence. A matter of fact, according to a florist from Irwin, white roses were the choice pick for this year’s prom recipients. A Ligonier florist agreed that the white rose was the flower worn by the young ladies during this very special evening.

And need I even ask the question, “Why are red roses given on Valentine’s Day?” I can hear those wheels turning as you are reading this column. Yup…love and desire. Those two words speak volumes in connection with those flowers, more space for which I have room. I definitely could expound on these subjects, but for all practical purposes, I think it is best to move on.

I can’t see myself giving my good friend, Gerry, a yellow rose even though it does denote friendship. Right away, he may not find it appropriate and refuse to accept it. But it also symbolizes joy, and I can think of an overflowing handful of individuals who are deserving of receiving at least one of these flowers.

There is a parishioner in the former Church I used to attend whose name is Sharon. If I were to give her a flower that most typifies her personality it would be a gladiolus, for that points to the fact that she has strength of character.

Finally, why aren’t tulips given on Valentine’s Day instead of red roses? Sure, the latter symbolizes love and desire, but tulips and two lips definitely spell out love and passion, acts that are synonymous with each other.


- Paul J. Volkmann
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