Valentine’s Day always arrives just in the nick of time, doesn’t it? We’re dried out from all the sugar we ate Halloween through New Years. We’ve somehow made it through January, the longest month of the year. Mud season is around the corner, but we still have a ways to go before the crocus are in bloom. We’re bored out of our trees, and frankly, we need a reason, any reason, to celebrate. Getting to wear red and eat candy just sweetens the deal. Ha, ha!
Remember sending Valentines cards to everyone in your class? We‘re talking elementary school, here. We had these heart shaped mailboxes made of red construction paper, with a pocket on the front, your name printed on it, where you put the cards. There was always one kid in the class I didn’t want to send a Valentine to, either because he had cooties or I really liked him. But the deal was, you had to send one to everyone, no exceptions.
When I think about Valentine’s Day back then, I picture chocolate cupcakes with white frosting and red sparkles, maybe decorated with a candy heart or two— you know, the ones with little sayings on them? “Be mine,” “Let’s kiss” or something? Do they still have those?
Okay. Just looked it up (the internet is a wonderful thing), candy hearts are still around. Only now, they say stuff like “Call me,” or “Text me.” Gee, I don’t know. Maybe I’m getting old, but those phrases just don’t capture the spirit of the day.
Anyhoo, my guess is they don’t let kids eat a lot of that sugary crap in school nowadays, so the Valentine’s Day chocolate cupcake with all the fixings has probably gone the way of the fried baloney cup. Oh God, remember those? Fried baloney with a scoop of mashed potatoes in the cup it makes when the baloney cooks, served with the side of canned green beans. Haute cuisine at Mahoosuc Elementary.
Nowadays on Valentine’s Day, I make Charlie a batch of his favorite cookies (I know better than trying to surprise him with anything else). And he usually gives me a heart shaped box of Russell Stover assorted chocolates. Sometimes we go out to eat. Sometimes I cook a special meal for us at home. But we always spend the evening together. I wear red, of course, and even have some heart shaped earrings to top it off. Charlie wears the usual.
Charlie’s never been one for buying me flowers. “Why?” he says. “You’re just gonna throw ‘em out in a couple of days.” And you know what? He’s right. I haven’t got much patience for flowers past their prime. Throughout the year, I buy small flowering plants at the A&P: Cyclamen, Mini Roses, Begonias. They last longer than cut flowers, and when they stop blooming, I just chuck ‘em. I figure, it’s their job to bloom, and once they stop doing their job, they’re outta here!
But on Valentine’s Day, I treat myself and buy some cut flowers, usually tulips. Lookin’ at them snappy spring blossoms in the middle of February makes me happy to no end.
Point is, don’t forget to be your own Valentine, and take time to do something nice for yourself this week. Wear red. Buy yourself some flowers, chocolates or whatever. Get a massage or a mani-pedi. Winter’s too long not to take advantage of any excuse to celebrate.
That’s it for now. Catch you on the flip side!
Upcoming Shows & Book Events: Winter
February 7-9 The Best of Ida, Garrison Players, Friday & Saturday at 8:00 p.m., Sunday at 3:00 p.m., Rollinsford, NH
March 4 Book Reading, D.A. Hurd Library, 6:30 p.m., North Berwick, ME
March 19 Book Reading, Stockton Springs Community Library, 6:30 p.m., Stockton Springs, ME
March 28 & 30 The Best of Ida, The Footlights, Friday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2:00 p.m.
For details, please check out the schedule page on my website: http://www.idaswebsite.com/schedule