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Harris Florist pays it forward

Good Neighbor Day celebrates small acts of kindness

NEDERLAND — Jo Ellen Penn weaved through Harris Florist with her daughters Erin Betar and Molly Homuth Wednesday morning, shopping in the small spaces unoccupied by the line of visitors streaming into the store.

Penn, 66, of Port Arthur maneuvered around the shop’s floral arrangements and crafty decorations while Betar and Homuth cracked jokes close behind. Each of the women were careful not to bump their fragile cargo — one dozen fresh-cut roses each — as they pointed out crosses and flowers on their way to the door.

“We’ve done this several years, and always together,” Penn said, smiling. “It’s such a sweet gesture from (Harris Florist). Who gives away this many —”

“Roses?” Betar finished, motioning to the bouquets leaving the store.

But the Penn girls — and many of the other 100-plus Harris Florist customers Wednesday — had no intention of keeping the roses for themselves. Each dozen came with instructions to keep one and give the others to 11 people in honor of FTD, or Florists’ Transworld Delivery, Good Neighbor Day.

Carolyn Harris, owner of Harris Florist, said Wednesday marked the 21st annual Good Neighbor Day at the Nederland shop. She said the rules of Good Neighbor Day are simple — take one rose and deliver the rest throughout the community.

“Our slogan is ‘Flowers whisper what words can never say,’ and FTD Good Neighbor Day is the perfect opportunity to share that sentiment with everybody,” Harris said Wednesday morning. “It really touches you to be a part of this, because so many people do take the opportunity to give these roses away. And hearing the stories about where all these roses are headed will just melt your heart.”

Mondi Hebert, niece of Harris Florist owner Carolyn Harris, left, greets each visitor Wednesday morning with a dozen roses during the 21st annual Good Neighbor Day rose give-a-way at Harris Florist in Nederland.

Mondi Hebert, niece of Harris Florist owner Carolyn Harris, left, greets each visitor Wednesday morning with a dozen roses during the 21st annual Good Neighbor Day rose give-a-way at Harris Florist in Nederland.

Harris said she had 160 dozen roses on hand, “and access to more as we need them,” to give away in the FTD’s effort to create a more compassionate world.

Penn said she and her daughters return to Harris Florist every year to participate in the Good Neighbor Day acts of kindness.

“Whoever you turn around and give the roses to, you never know what they’re going through,” Homuth, 37, of Nederland said. “This could be the gesture that turns their day around or brings that big smile to their face.”

Penn said she was going to share her roses with her daughters and a family member who went to the hospital recently.

Betar, 39, of Nederland said she was going to give her 11 “extras” to her mother.

“Aw, that’s so sweet,” Penn said, smiling.

“She was in a car accident 10 days ago,” Betar said.

“And still pretty banged up — my poor husband’s truck,” Penn said, laughing with her daughters.

“Well, now that I feel horrible for not giving all of my flowers to my mom,” Homuth said, sarcastically through a laugh. “Really though, I’m going to spread them between my mom, my sister and my 12-year-old daughter.”

Carolyn Harris, owner of Harris Florist on Avenue H in Nederland, ordered 160 dozen roses to hand out during the shop’s 21st annual Good Neighbor Day rose give-a-way Wednesday morning. Each dozen roses had a card instructing the recipient to keep one rose for themselves and give away the remaining 11.

Carolyn Harris, owner of Harris Florist on Avenue H in Nederland, ordered 160 dozen roses to hand out during the shop’s 21st annual Good Neighbor Day rose give-a-way Wednesday morning. Each dozen roses had a card instructing the recipient to keep one rose for themselves and give away the remaining 11.

Harris’ niece Mondi Hebert and Harris Florist manager Creedean Carney manned the rose give-a-way station Wednesday morning. As visitors approached Carney to sign into the guest book, she asked, “Who will you be giving your roses to today?”

Don Blanton, 77, of Groves said he had a plan to deliver the flowers to “the often underappreciated.”

“I started coming here years ago, because my friends told me about what they were doing. It’s such a great thing, and I just thought I could pick up a dozen and give them to people who are blessings in the community,” Blanton said. “It could be a bank teller, pharmacist, doctor — those people we all see who work hard every day doing for others, often for no thanks in return. It’s a small gesture, but it blesses me to give them away.”

Harris Florist is located at 2707 Ave. H in Nederland. The shop is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For more information, call Harris Florist at (409) 722-3928.

Twitter: @crhenderson90