SOUTHINGTON — Tom O’Hare, a firefighter at Engine Company Number 2, looked at the hydrangeas being offered at the organization’s yearly Easter flower sale.
“I look at them and I think about my mom today,” O’Hare said. “She used to love hydrangeas.”
Florence O’Hare died in 2009. On Easter, thoughts of loved ones here and gone are never far away. People go out and buy flowers as a way of remembering and acknowledging.
The Plantsville engine company sells Easter flowers as a fundraiser to support its high school scholarship program and equipment they might need for company training exercises throughout the year. Manning the flower booth is not a bad assignment, O’Hare said, even with the rain.
“Everybody is kind of smiling,” he said.
Business at the station had been steady all morning.
“It’s been surprisingly, considering the weather, good,” he said. “Hopefully we sell out before the day is over. If not, we will be here tomorrow morning.”
Southington resident Nick Frega walked up to the front of the station to pick up flowers for his mom Marianne. His dad Peter asked O’Hare about the hydrangeas. O’Hare knew quite a bit about his mom’s favorite flower.
“Those, depending on the acidity of the soil, will change their color. They will grow into some good sized bushes,” O’Hare said.
The Fregas didn't end up getting a hydrangea, but O’Hare’s sale pitch otherwise worked. They walked away with daffodils, begonia, and an Easter lily. Nick Frega has friends who are associated with the fire department, so there was no question where he and his father were going to pick up their Easter flowers this year.
“We wanted to support the firehouse. We know they are good people who do good work,” Frega said.
While the Fregas chatted with O’Hare, Patrick Myers, his nine-year-old daughter Riley, and six-year-old son Caleb got a tour of the firehouse. Caleb was particularly enthusiastic about the tour because, as O’Hare pointed out, who doesn’t like fire engines?
“We are going to Vermont. Family members live there and we wanted to have flowers to give them,” Riley said.
The Myers got their first real Christmas tree from the firefighters this past year. It only made sense for them to come back for their Easter flowers. The fire department is now part of Riley and Caleb’s holiday tradition.
Patrick Myers made sure that Riley and Caleb thanked the firefighters for their tour before they headed off to their grandmother’s horse farm.
“Thanks for supporting us,” O’Hare said. “We’ll see you here for your Christmas tree.”