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Valentine’s Day memories - heartwarming or horrible?

February 9, 2020

I really hate it when I look at my weekly day planner and right next to the date is a time, but nothing else. There are pages of dates that have meaningless hours: 10 a.m. Friday with only a question mark, 4 p.m. Tuesday with a happy face and 9 a.m. Wednesday with a huge exclamation point in red. I don’t know whether that 11 a.m.  Monday note means I am having surgery or being audited by the IRS, or I’ve had a mini stroke and never finished writing in the activity.

But I am giving a fair warning, especially to the guys. There is one date that needs no explanation. That red circle around Feb. 14 has nothing to do with an oil change for your car, or rotating your car’s tires. And it can’t be the opening day of baseball spring training. I know these are landmark times. No, that date only means one thing, Valentine’s Day.

As far back as kindergarten, most boys developed a healthy revolting dislike for this day. They can vividly recall the frightening Valentine’s Day box in their classroom, all done up in red crepe paper hearts and frilly white doilies. It was enough to make you puke, or certainly put forth a good healthy burp, which they practice all the time after school and on camping trips.

Back then, kindergarten was presided over by a teacher, in my case a Miss Frost, who wore corrective shoes and the same gray suit all year, and sucked orange peels through her teeth in the back of the room.

But Valentine’s Day, according to recent polls, isn’t just for spouses and partners anymore. According to the experts, just as much money will be spent on this holiday as Christmas. Pets will benefit most from this windfall. Doggie heart sweaters and red tiaras for cats are in vogue.

Everyone wants that communication today. Don’t be surprised if you get a card with, “Roses are red, violets are blue, it’s been a pleasure emptying your sewer for you,” signed by your septic company.

If that wasn’t enough, a kid’s own mother could betray them by forcing them to write their name on all those Valentines to put in that frilly sissy girlish box, when they could be outside doing really important guy things like rolling boulders and discarded ovens down an embankment. 

Boys wrote in big block letters, much like a ransom note demanding a getaway car. One thing that dogged them forever was they could never get that letter “S” to go the right way. In fact, it wasn’t until they were married, divorced and remarried that they could actually learn to turn it around, what with all the dollar signs in front of so many alimony payments and attorney fees. These are the same youngsters with no early social skills who would go on later in life to careers as computer geeks, where they would make enough money to retire at the age of 14.

Now girls have had that date circled for a long time, actually since before birth. Valentine’s Day is the ultimate romantic holiday. But there are two requirements for a woman to make it a successful, fulfilling day, at least according to the greeting card folks, who attached an amendment to a bill that was part of the funding for the Department of Transportation package, and later this became law and that was No. 1, you had to have a date, and No. 2, that date could not be a Dalmatian. 

Women will want that box of candy, or maybe flowers. Of course, dinner is always a hit. Sure, the younger, metro guy will think texting is enough. But the real pros know that the way to a women’s heart is that red rose. And more importantly, that the 7-Eleven convenience store is open all night. One Happy Valentine’s Day coming up.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.