Mr. Pierotti And The Anniversary

Stainless steel cream and sugar set 7-year-old Kim Smith purchased at Pierotti’s Flower and Gift Shop. Courtesy photo

 

By KIM SMITH-NILSSON
Redwood City, Calif.
(Formerly of Los Alamos)

I had forgotten the anniversary. As I lay in bed the night before, I heard my parents wish each other a “Happy Anniversary” from the other room, and my heart dropped.

Even at 7 years old, weren’t you supposed to do something for the people who mostly just made your life work? They expected nothing, of course, but my little ears picked up the words and my little brain kept me awake, and I decided that this year I would do something special and surprise them.

The next morning, Saturday, I gathered my coins (I believe it was $1.31) and put them in a little sack. I knew right where to go. I walked downtown to Pierotti’s Flower and Gift Shop, because, well, flowers and gifts.

Mr. Pierotti was in the store already and recognized me right away.

“How can I help you, young lady?”

I forgot my parents’ anniversary and I want to get them something really nice, I said.

“What a lovely idea! Let’s see what we have.”

Well, I had already scanned the shop (many times, even through the windows) and had a pretty fair idea what I wanted. How much is that, I asked, pointing to a stainless steel cream and sugar set. The height of sophisticated elegance in my 7 year old mind.

“How much do you have in your bag?” he responded.

$1.31, I said.

“Amazing!” he said. “This particular cream and sugar set is $1.25, which leaves you with something left over. Should we put some candy in the bowl?”

I thought about it. Was candy pushing it over the top? No, I decided, I could spend the extra money and go for it.

“Good choice,” said Lou Pierotti. “Would you like that wrapped?”

Of course.

Afterward, I trudged home, presented the gift to a very surprised set of parents, and felt pretty good about life. I found out later my dad had gone back to the store to try and pay the correct amount for the set, (around $12) but had been sent away as I had: with the gifts of abundance, and dignity, and great good will.

Lou Pierotti died recently. His legacy is large in our town, and larger still in my heart. May we all be blessed by people who enrich our world by simply loving.

Editor’s note: Kim Smith-Nilsson’s mother is Joann Smith (Brown) of Los Alamos and her father was Duane W. Smith.

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