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Our Valentine's Tradition

Friday, February 14, 2020

We didn't have a tradition of Valentine's Day for the first - what? 30 years of our marriage. At first we were too poor and too rebelliously young to want to follow what I then referred to as a "Hallmark Card Holiday". I surely would have loved a surprise from DH that was prompted by a surge of love for me and caused him to think "I'll get her a present". But not necessarily on Valentine's Day. But time passed and the cumulative effect of girlfriends' valentine's day gifts, both given and received, sparked a little envy. A special meal crept into mid-February. I identified the day to DH. and explained the reason for the extra effort put into dinner. I probably bought some chocolates in a heart shaped box. I've always gotten myself flowers anyway.

Then one year someone in this marriage who is not me, behaved in a particularly bratty, snotty and selfish way - in public. Not for the first time in this long relationship. Because someone in this marriage is the Youngest Son of a Southern Mother. On February 14!

There was a Come To Jesus meeting.
There were changes made
Somebody had to do better.
Lots better.

And so began our really quite sweet Valentine's Day Tradition. ThePoet is to write a Valentine poem and make a card to put it on. I have a stack, now, of about 20 of them, usually on cut-out hearts made of construction paper. Or on white paper but written with a red Sharpee. I carried them in my Day Timer till I retired so they would always be with me. They now live in my little jewelry armoire.

And I continue the festive meal. DH loves steak and loves it especially when it is sizzling hot off the fire. Our kitchen is small - almost a galley kitchen - definitely NOT an eat-in kitchen. But on Valentine's Day I bring in two TV trays and push them together right between the stove and the sink. From there I can reach the stove top and, piece by piece, I cook bite-sized chunks of beef. In the oven are small baked potatoes that can be fetched out as desired. On the sink counter is butter, salt&pepper, the bottle of merlot. At our feet are the dogs, hoping someone will drop a bite on the floor. When we have finished our meal the little heart shaped box, with 4 pieces of chocolate in them, comes out.

Now we both look forward to Valentine's Day. We reminisce about it throughout the year. We laugh at how such a simple thing can feel so festive. Sometimes the conversation brought on by this gustatory tradition reveals new facets of each other - even after nearly 50 years together. And that is just what we shall be doing this evening - on Valentine's Day 2020 - as we start the glorious slide down from winter into spring.

Happy Valentine's Day to you all.
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