Holidays are always filled with expectations. Christmas has presents, Thanksgiving has turkey, and the fourth of July has fireworks, but Valentine’s Day is the one most filled with peril. Anyone who has a special someone has faced the problem of what to do to show they care, knowing full well that if they botch it, they will be fighting bad feelings for at least a month, and in the case of your wife, as they tend to have much longer memories, the rest of the year. Flannery has spelled it out, in no uncertain terms, that I cannot f*ck it up again this year as I have done in years past. If I get it wrong I will be sleeping in the shed, or the Jeep.
I have always maintained that Valentine’s Day was a “Hallmark” holiday and was simply invented to sell cards, candy, and flowers in February when business was slow. It turns out I was right. The holiday was on the Catholic calendar since the year 496 AD., but it didn’t have any romantic connotations until the poet Chaucer wrote about it in the fourteenth century in his poem “Parliament of Foules”. No one paid it much attention until 1847 when Esther Howland, the daughter of a Massachusetts stationary seller, coaxed her father into mass producing Valentines embossed with paper lace. Leave it to an American to invent a holiday to sell cards, so much so that the industry has an “Esther Howland Award for Greeting Card Visionary” that they have been giving away since 2001. I’m sure the Puritans came to America just so they could make a killing by inventing a holiday and peddling turkeys to the world. We are always looking for ways to make a quick buck.
Needless to say, I never thought that much of this holiday and in checking with my married friends neither do they, well at least the men don’t. The wives however pine for the days of their courtship and the trinkets and tokens that came with it. My mother-in-law is always quick to remind me that the courtship is never over, no matter how long you have been married. So this is a task forever unfinished ‘til death do you part.
I argue that I daily make it a point to tell her I love her. Daily, I make it a point to show her I love her. I clean her dishes, her house, her children, and her underwear. I go to work so that I may provide the lifestyle that she has become accustomed to. I attend family get-togethers that I would rather skip. I fix meals that only she likes. I put up with her crazy uncles that I would like to punch in the nose. Hell, I’ve even composed poems to explain the depth of my love for her. And yet, all of this is not enough.
I must do more, and I have to do it on February fourteenth. But truth be told, she is worth it, and oh so very much more.