“Were you my girlfriend,” I said to Maureen, “I wouldn’t bore you with roses on Valentine’s Day, I’d give you . . . Peonies!” in yet another bout of barroom bravado from the boy who knew nothing of peonies beyond the funny name; who, come February, would search in vain for their blooms among more traditional fare; who’d eventually have to settle for a perfectly respectable crocus— supplemented with a poem, mind you—that ended:
Still there is a better reason . . .
The peony is out of season,
And, though it may be really nice,
It can’t be bought at any price.