Thursday, February 14, 2013

Thoughts on the Day of Chocolate and Roses

(posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi)

..and, if the advertising is to be believed, iPads and flat screen TVs and if you're very, very special, maybe a new car.


I remember Valentine's day being special because it was a party after Christmas...something to look forward to after the tree was discarded and the lights packed away and the presents relegated to the bottomless Toy Box.

 I remember having a tiered red dress when I was about in 2nd grade...a hand me down from an older cousin...that I wanted to wear on Valentine's day.  But it was a lightweight, warm-weather dress and the chances of the weather being fit to wear such a thing in central Indiana in the middle of February were truly non-existent.

I thought if the groundhog could manage not to see his shadow, spring would be early and I could wear the pretty red dress for the Valentine's party at school. 

The groundhog let me down.  I think by the time it was warm enough to wear the dress, it was too little.

I remember making special receptacles  for the Valentine's exchange every year; always one of my favorite crafts.

And I remember the year that I noticed that I did not have as many Valentines in my decorated shoe box as a number of my classmates...when I went home and actually looked at the signatures on the back and found that a number of the names were missing.

'Singles Awareness Day' is what the Actor is fond of calling the day;  for me, in fourth and fifth grade, it was an unawareness day...the day I was relegated to second class citizen, not even worthy of a cheap paper smile.

Stuff like that stays with you a long, long time.

Fortunately, after 5th grade, the parties went away and there were no more opportunities for me to be left off that particular list.  Valentine's Day moved down...way down...the list of important days.  Oh, I had a couple of 'boyfriends' in Junior Hi and High school; I remember getting a small box of candy from the first one.  I kept the heart shaped box until the glue gave out and it fell apart, but I really don't remember specific celebrations for most of my coming of age years.

But I do remember a cold, blustery,  sleety Valentine's Day in 1979. A local florist called the house about 8 PM to get directions out to the farm and, to everyone's surprise, about half an hour later delivered a box containing a dozen long-stemmed roses from a certain blond engineering student at Purdue.  That was the first time anyone had ever given me flowers on Valentine's Day.  In years to come, I would tell him he could buy me flowers any day BUT Feb. 14, as the prices were jacked up beyond belief on that day, but in 1979 my little heart that had counted the noticeably short number of cards in my fifth grade box was filled in a way I had not experienced before.

I married him about a year and a half later.

There have lots of Valentine's days since then; some have left very fond memories.  But tonight will make the highlight film - I stopped at the grocery store and got a large sirloin steak for grilling, a fresh store-made salad and a bag of onion rings; I made a decadent chocolate dessert, and two of the four-plus-one kids managed to have dinner with us.  I doubt it will go on their 'best Valentine memories' list...but this is exactly what makes my heart smile now. 

And I think St. Valentine, who was killed for uniting Christians in holy matrimony against the decrees of the Roman government, would approve.

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