The Corsage

by John Stevens from St. Marys, ON
Jun 11, 16

Many years ago a friend in Edmonton pleaded with me to take a girl he knew to her sorority event. She was interested in him, and he did not want to encourage that interest. While I was reluctant to get involved in a mess he had created, he was a good friend. I consented to the blind date.

He certainly sold me on her. Her sister was a beauty queen. She belonged to an upscale sorority.  

I, on the other hand, had only $20 to my name.  

With about half of my life savings, I decided to buy a corsage for my date.

I arrived at her home dressed in my only suit, corsage in my hand.  

The door opened.

The first thing I saw that she was beautiful. The second thing was that her dress had very thin straps. There was no place to put a corsage. 

I also saw the funny look on her face. It said she would have never worn what represented half of my worldly riches anyway. It wasn’t that kind of party.

And then I noticed that her leg was bandaged. She had injured herself skiing that afternoon.  

What else could go wrong? I wondered.  

Plenty. I learned. 

I escorted her to my chariot, a red Toyota pick-up truck with a canopy camper on the back. That was my vehicle in those days. From the look on her face, I wished that a fairy godmother could have come along and turned it into a Mercedes. When we arrived at the party, I suggested I could drop her off at the front door of the home. In spite of her sore leg, she insisted that we park a couple of blocks away.

We finally entered and I was introduced to some people, then she … disappeared. I wasn’t completely disappointed. I hadn’t had a good meal in a long time and no expense had been spared that night - the food was plentiful and tasty. 

Luckily I am a fast eater, because half an hour after our arrival, my date, whom I had barely seen, re-appeared and asked to be taken home. Her leg was aching too much to stay- though I should note once again she again declined my offer to bring the truck to the front door. My feelings weren’t hurt. I had, after all, eaten well, But my friend, who set all this up, was going to hear about it. 

I dropped her off. She suggested I didn’t need to walk her to the door, but I did. And then I did the unthinkable. I asked for the corsage back. 
Was I out of my mind?

Maybe. Let me explain. I had a second blind date a couple of nights later. A girls’ group was having a father-daughter banquet. A friend had asked me if I would be the substitute father for a young girl who didn’t have a dad in her life. I told my friend that I would do it.

The night of the second blind date came. You know what? I was more nervous meeting this ten year old than the sister of the beauty queen. It is a great responsibility to take on the role of someone’s father, even if only for an evening.

When I went to pick her up, the young girl came through the living room door. We were introduced and I showed her the corsage. Her eyes grew as big as saucers. She was trembling with joy as I pinned it on her.  

While she was the only one at the banquet without a real dad, she was also the only one with a beautiful corsage. She held her head up high as we walked into the room. We had a great time. It was wonderful seeing her smile and hearing her laugh. I think she was proud to have a special friend like me. And I certainly was proud of her, as proud as a dad might have been.

When I took her home, she was still wearing the corsage. 

In one person’s eyes it was worthless.  

In another’s it was priceless.