Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

Another candy holiday.

February 14th is coming whether you like it or not.  For those without an intended object of affection all of the ads for cards, flowers and candies can make it seem like one is being left out of some exclusive membership to Noah’s Ark.  On the other hand, those leaving their hearts in hands of another run the risk of unrealistic expectations of gifts to give or get.  Really, it’s a dicey holiday, at best.


Years ago, I had a lovely British boss who insisted he would never celebrate a corporate created holiday such as Valentine’s Day.  He said that he refused to be told when to buy the woman in his life a bouquet of flowers or a box of candy.  Instead, he said he would choose where or when and maybe for no reason at all – perhaps just because it was Thursday.  Gotta love a man like that, even if they do have to be imported from other countries.  Go ahead and take an informal poll of your own and see how many men would send or bring home chocolate … just because.  Oh, they may be out there, but hard to find.  Kind of like the mysterious snipe bird.  Fool me once, shame on you…


Walking into your local drug store during the month of February can be an assault on the senses, mostly the eyes because of the rows and rows of red stuff.  Red candy boxes, cards, envelopes, t-shirts, boxers, roses, etc.  Why red?  Because red is the color of passion and love.  The body has an actual physiological response as respiration, heart rate and blood pressure all increase while viewing the color red.  Not necessarily a bad thing when a person is in love.  But let us not forget red is also the color of stop, danger, anger, fire, blood and infection (gross, I know.  But true).  Red is also the color associated with Communism, American Conservatism and Canadian Liberalism depending on which side of the fence (or border) you stand.


When my kids were younger it was kind of fun buying or making Valentine’s Day cards.  Now that they are older, it’s a different ballgame, this holiday steeped in romantic notions.  My teenage daughter has been on the rollercoaster of love since she left elementary school, half a dozen years ago, and the 14th of February has been a pretty entertaining thing to behold.  There were times that gifts and cards were hastily put together in the middle of the night or purchased at the crack of dawn when young fellas would place an unexpected profession of “like” on our front porch or car window and a reciprocal gesture was called for.  Other times, weeks and weeks go into the card and gift planning for the beau du jour.  My son hasn’t always understood the meaning of Valentine’s Day, due in part to autism’s language processing but more to the inability of understanding abstract reasoning (and love surely is the most abstract of all human concepts), however he recently told me that he thinks he next year he wants to give cards and candy to all of the girls he’s ever loved and to all of his school bus drivers since he started school (over 10 years ago).  My little Julio Iglesias of transportation.


One of my all-time favorite Valentine’s stories involves another family’s kid in our neighborhood cul-de-sac.  A young suitor brought a bistro table, chairs, picnic dinner and romantic music (via a boombox) to the front patio of the girl he adored.  They’ve both moved on to other love interests now that they’re in college, but that story still warms MY heart when I think of it, and I do, every Valentine’s Day.


As from me, when I was a little girl I loved watching my mother’s face light up when my father would present her with a big red lace and satin heart filled with chocolates.  One year he surprised me with a smaller cardboard one and I was over the moon at the gesture.  As a result, my heart still skips a beat when I see those big foofy boxes in specialty stores (corporate Pavlovian brainwashing, I know – but I can’t help myself).


In addition to candy, flowers were a big part of my early adult Valentine’s years and there were a couple of times that more than one vase of flowers (okay, four) showed up on my desk at work on the 14th of February.  It still brings an evil little smile to my face and a fiery blush from my cheeks to my toes to recall.


I have to admit that age has made me a bit crankier about Valentine’s Day and the fact that it’s a big ol’ mean corporate holiday that makes people feel guilty about not opening their already stretched wallets to “show” their love and affection.  That and the idea that the whole think might be irritating to the folks who don’t have a sweetheart or the one they do have isn’t very sweet (instead of the apple of their eye it’s more of a speck of pink insulation in there).


There is probably a very good reason that Valentine’s Day got shoved into the middle of February, being the shortest month of the year and all.  You get two short weeks of stress and anticipation and then two weeks after to recover and move on into March.  March –a month whose very name is in your face practically shouting about the structure and determination needed to recover from February.  March!  Get over it!  Move on!  Get up and work off that two pounds of chocolate that you didn’t necessarily want, need or like (seriously, I know women who routinely ask for nuts & chews and still get the same box of cream and soft centers that someone else prefers year after year).


February 14th is coming whether we like it or not.  I guess we should just be grateful that the commercials bombarding us about Valentine’s Day are almost over.  Ooh!  That means we have about six months before the Back-to-School ads begin competing with the ???-Shopping-Days-til-Christmas ads!  Have a piece of chocolate while you contemplate that news (spoon full of sugar theory, and all that).


“”Life’s greatest happiness is to be convinced we are loved” – Victor Hugo

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