Sunday, October 25, 2009

Chapter 12: Bonding with Kona

About a month after the Collin's Estate wedding, Wellington's was booked to provide flowers for a private birthday party in New York City. One such event was a 60th birthday party for a rich old queen. It waqs set for the first weekend in November, the same weekend Stewart was going to Japan for their annual flower show. He asked Johnny to help Kona do the job. It turned out to be one of the longest days of Johnny's life, but it also gave him and Kona a last chance to bond as friends.

Since Johnny lived between Southampton and the city, Kona had to load the van herself and pick Johnny up along the way. The flowers and accessories needed for the event weren't too much to have to load into the van, except for the four boxes of heavy river rocks and the very expensive Kuninga vases they would later go into.

Kona got to Johnny's at 7:30AM. This would be the first time he would experience riding in the van with Kona driving for the 90-minute trip into Manhattan. She was a wild one, that was for sure, weaving and darting in and out of the traffic and making the trip in just under 50 minutes! They arrived at their destination on the Upper East Side just before 8:30.

The weather was unseasonably cold that day. A bitter wind coming off the East River reminded them that winter was just around the corner. It was too early to enter the venue. Bill's staff wasn't getting there until eleven o'clock and they couldn't enter the building until ten. Kona suggested they get a cup of coffee and wait in the warm van. Johnny agreed.

For the next hour or so, Johnny and Kona traded lines to the latest hip hop hits. "Hot damn, this is my jam. We're gonna party until the AM..." They laughed and sang, having a good time, and before they knew it, it was time to start unloading the van and trudge it all the way up to the 40th floor penthouse where the party would take place. They had to make a lot of trips!

Johnny and Kona labored through the next two hours, unpacking a little at a time from the van, carrying it to the freight elevator, going up, unloading, then returning down to the van for more. They would repeat this process over and over again until they had gotten the van completely unloaded. By then, Bill's people were already scurrying about, beginning to "pretty up" the room.

The theme for the party was color. There were several rooms in the penthouse and each would have its own color theme. There was a red room, a blue room, a green room and an orange one, and Kona had had to spray paint the leaves of tall stemmed flowers to match the color of each room. These painted flowers would be placed in prominent positions in each room within the Kuninga vases.

That would be the bulk of their work for the party, other than some placing of some pre-made centerpieces and candles on the tables throughout the apartment. Once they were done, they'd be on their own until 11PM, the end of the party, when they would have to break it all down. They'd planned on being done by 2PM or so, and were going to spend the afternoon and evening doing something fun in the city.

As things will go, Johnny and Kona's plans didn't quite happen as they had hoped. What they thought would be a simple setup turned out to be not so simple, especially when Bill arrived on the scene.

Read the rest here.

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