Flowers or flour?

Author Shonagh Koea, in her excellent memoir The Kindness of Strangers, recalls – following the untimely death of her husband – being given a posy of flowers by a visitor.

Someone called in one day to give me a bunch of pansies when there was hardly any food left in the cupboard and I just thought, “What the hell use is this fucking bunch of pansies when I’m hungry?”

The Kindness of Strangers – Kitchen Memoirs, Shonagh Koea, 2007, Random House New Zealand

Such an angry thought! The point being, of course, that pretty flowers are precious little comfort when one is hungry, and a practical gift, like food or money, would have been much better.

But I have mixed emotions on this one. How was her guest to have known that the newly widowed Shonagh could not afford groceries?


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