When did Valentine’s Day get to be such a thing? You know, a THING, with capital letters.
When I went to the grocery store yesterday afternoon, I noticed that Fry’s actually had a circus tent set up in their parking lot (making many, many really valuable parking spots unavailable, which made me feel downright unValentiney) featuring nothing but items for people to give their significant others to show them just how much they are cherished. Primarily flowers.
To my surprise, the tent was full of mostly men desperately searching for flowers that would satisfy their loved one and not break the bank. I’m not sure those needs were mutually inclusive.
Valentine’s Day existed, of course, when I was small. I clearly remember bringing little Valentine’s cards to give to my friends and classmates. Our room mothers brought in Valentine treats, probably homemade sugar cookies or cupcakes because these were the days before anyone worried about too much sugar consumption and gluten or soy allergies. The little cards were handed out right before school let out, so we brought our cards home and perused them on our dining room table, challenging one another to see who got the most Valentines.
Though, being a cradle Catholic, I was well aware that Valentine’s Day was named after St. Valentine, I didn’t recall much about him. I went to that Mecca of All Things True, Wikipedia. I learned little, because frankly little is known about the man. There are stories that had him marrying people while in prison. There is one legend that says he cured the daughter of one of the jailers, and then sent her a goodbye note shortly before he was executed in which he signed it Your Valentine. Awwww. The only thing really known about him is that he was martyred, and for the life of me, I couldn’t find out how. It says a lot about me that I was hoping he was stabbed in the heart.
Many years ago, about a year after I graduated from college, I went to work in the regional office of Miller Brewing Company. While there, I worked with a young woman, perhaps in her 30s, who had been married to the same man for five or six years. Every year, when Valentine’s Day came around, she would get a beautiful bouquet of red roses from her husband. I was envious because, well, red roses. One year, as she was walking past my desk with her flowers, I noted how beautiful they were, and added that her husband must be a terribly romantic man. To my surprise, she laughed heartily and explained to me that annually since they married, about a week before Valentine’s Day, she would call the florist and order flowers for herself and have them sign her husband’s name on the card.
“That way I get flowers for Valentine’s Day and don’t have to get mad at him,” she concluded.
There seems, of course, something flawed in that logic, but it worked for them so who am I to argue?
Since we’ve been spending winters in AZ, I have annually sent some sort of treat to our grandkids for Valentine’s Day. One year I got the notion to have fancy cookies delivered to them as a Valentine treat. That was a costly endeavor, as fancy cookies cost a lot, and it was abandoned thereafter. One year I baked a variety of cookies and sent each family a box. While I can’t confirm it, my belief is that they were mostly cookie crumbs by time they arrived. This year I filled Mason jars with candy and decorated the tops festively…….
I wish you all a happy St. Valentine’s Day, and I hope you get to spend it with someone you love. Plus, I hope you’re not martyred via being stabbed in the heart, though admittedly, nothing says love like a good execution.