Sweet Daisy the Flower Lady

My brother and I grew up in a world that doesn't exist anymore, but then it didn't really even exist at the time, at least not anywhere except Charleston.

In the winter, every room in the house was warmed with a fireplace; in the summer, cooling the house meant taking up the oriental wool rugs and putting down straw rugs and covering all the furniture in white muslin with green piping.

The smell of straw and muslin is still the sure scent of summer to me. But there was another true summer fragrance: the blue bachelor buttons that Daisy brought. Daisy was the "Flower Lady", just like in the pictures that the tourists now buy of old Charleston. Daisy was deliciously plump, with a wonderful big smile, a true low country Gullah accent, and a laugh that made everyone laugh, even though they could not understand a word that she said.

The "Vegetable Man", with his horse that had a hat on his head, came to the back door. The "Ice Man" came to the back door with his own horse; the "Grocery Boy", in a stocking cap, got off his bicycle and lugged the groceries up the long back stairs. But Daisy, in her damp, blue voile dress and all her sweet-smelling Bachelor's Buttons, for reasons I didn't know then and don't know to this day, brought her sweet self, her sweet laugh, and her sweet basket full of sunshine straight up the front steps to the front door.

I guess she just figured that was the way it was supposed to be.

Sculpture and verse by

Alyse Lucas Corcoran