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  • Betty Girardeau

What's Valentine's Day Without a Valentine?

I have always loved Valentine's Day. In fact, next to Christmas, it is my favorite holiday, and not for all the reasons you might imagine. Of course, as a child in school it was fun to make the cards and the decorated shoe boxes that acted as mailboxes for their exchange with classmates. I remember, too, taking my meagre savings from my allowance and going down town to buy Valentine cards to give to my family. Back then you could buy a pretty nice card for twenty-five cents. When I started to date, of course, Valentine's Day took on a new meaning. While I was in college my dorm room for a couple of years was in the college's Main Hall, which was where all the florists would come to deliver the flowers that had been sent to the girls who had special beaus. The first year that I had a special beau, though, I did not get flowers. He had no extra money to pay a florist for flowers or their delivery. But I did get a lovely hand-made card with a cute little poem explaining why there were no flowers to go with it. I still have that card, too. After I was married, my husband never forgot a Valentine's Day, not even when he was serving in Vietnam. Then he contacted my sister and had her buy flowers for me. Winters in Virginia, especially in February, can be quite snowy, and there were several memorable Valentine's Days, despite the snowy conditions, when my husband stopped at the florist on his way home from work to pick up his order. We had a 600 foot long driveway, and because of the snow, he had to park at the end or nearly the end of the driveway and then walk up to the house carrying the vase of roses. In his last years, he made sure he wouldn't forget by asking me to order my own flowers or to make a dinner reservation for us for that date. For Valentine's Day 2017, only three weeks after my husband's death, my children (thanks to my daughter) went together and ordered two dozen red roses for me. That was really special! But now I no longer receive flowers, though my daughter and granddaughter did send me a digital card this morning. That doesn't mean that I don't like Valentine's Day as much as ever. You see, what I have always loved about this date is that it is a wonderful and joyous moment in the midst of a seemingly long and dark winter. And I love the color red! I have sparkly hearts decorating the wreath on my door and the little planter at the side of it. I have my quilt with a heart motif decorating the table in my family room. Seeing these give me joy and a sense of much-needed celebration. Winter apparently, hasn't forgotten this holiday either. During a recent walk I noticed the heart shaped detritus blown together by the heavy winds and captured this image of it to share with you all today. Love, joy, laughter, even celebration are in our world with or without a particular Valentine "person." And that's really what Valentine's Day means to me.

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