BY THEIR flowers you shall know them.

If flowers were the measure of a person's popularity and his good deeds in life, the late Board Member Tatang Pinong Laus would have been able to set a record for having the most number of flowers, wreaths and bouquets from mourners, friends and relatives.

During the first two nights of his wake, members of the Laus clan have been trying desperately to accommodate all flowers sent by those who remembered the late Laus patriarch. From as far as Manila to nearby Esting's Flower shop, there was a steady hustle and bustle of delivery vans with delivery boys scratching their heads at the problem of putting the flowers in a conspicuous place otherwise risking the ire of a big patron, a congressman or mayor.

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Flowers have been a compelling tradition whenever paying respects to the dead. Sending flowers in fact have become a social responsibility for companies and personalities to send in a towering corona of daisies, orchids or Malaysian mumps to the family of the dead. People going to a wake would usually look at the flowers and read the names of whoever sent the lovely roses and anthuriums and compare the sizes recognize which is more beautiful (or expensive).

But flowers sent to Tatang Pinong were not a result of mere adherence to convention but a symbol of the senders' love, love that has been expressed by almost 400 flower wreaths lining up the ancestral house of the clan in St. Dominic Villa.

From the main foyer of the house to the garden and until a significant portion of Lexus Street, flowers have been coming from people from all walks of life. Like the visitors, the flowers also serve as a total crowd leveler. People here estimate that close to a million pesos worth of flowers have arrived as of Friday.

"When I see the flowers, I am reminded of how many people loved Tatang Pinong. They are reminders that while Tatang Pinong will no longer be with us, his deeds in life will never be forgotten," Monina Laus, wife of the late board member, said.

The multitude of flowers will go with Tatang Pinong to the grave, but their essence will remain for like the scent of flowers in bloom, our memory of Tatang Pinong will continue to live while we nurture a little flower for him in our hearts.

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