Arranging flowers: a Les Green specialty

Les Green used to arrange flowers at a store on the South Side of Binghamton called Costa’s

Les Green.Carol PowellHere is my father with my bride Carol in March 2000. This is Les Green in his element, arranging flowers and the accouterments thereof.

He used to arrange flowers at a store on the South Side of Binghamton called Costa’s. He worked out of there when his regular job was slow, but even when he was working full time. He was VERY good working with his hands, a gift he did NOT pass down to his son.

For several years, he arranged flowers and did decorations for something called the Debutante’s Ball in my hometown, which was geared towards the black community. Often, my sister Leslie and I would accompany him. Now Leslie had an eye for this work, but I was there primarily to schlep stuff. I was a pretty good schlepper.

He also worked on at least two weddings of my mother’s cousins in New York City in the 1960s. I gather he was doing similar things when he moved to Charlotte, NC in 1974.

He decorated the assembly hall at my then-church in Albany in May 1999 for Carol’s and my wedding, showing great energy and resolve. It wasn’t until the end of the reception that she shared with my shocked new mother-in-law that he had prostate cancer. Or more correctly that he was “living with” the disease.

When I referred to Carol as my bride in the above picture, I wasn’t kidding. We’d been married less than 10 months at the time. This was dad arranging his church in Charlotte for a surprise celebration of my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Carol and Leslie and Marcia helped; I’m sure I moved some items.

But what was evident to Leslie and Carol and me for sure was that he was moving just a little bit slower than he did 10 months earlier. He needed a couple more breaks. About five months after this picture was taken, my father would be gone.

Two types of photos look like Les Green in my mind’s eye: him with his guitar, and him arranging flowers. Even 19 years after he passed, he’s still a very real presence.