First, thank you to Carynn for inspiring me to write about how awesome Valentine’s Day really is.
Of all of the Valentine’s Days I’ve had in my entire life, I picked yesterday to realize how much I truly love the day. I mean, I can understand the argument that it’s an overcommercialized, made-up holiday, but seriously: who doesn’t like receiving gifts? Or giving them, for that matter?
I’m not just talking expensive jewelry or roses or candy (though, hey, I’ve never complained about receiving any of these things…except the “expensive” jewelry part because I’m not that’s ever happened) – it’s truly the thought that counts. I know, I know. Cliche alert. Even just having someone tell me (without prompting) “Happy Valentine’s Day!” warms my heart.
What a mush-ball I am.
Anyway, just wanted to share stories about two of my most memorable Valentine’s Days (V-Day, for short. Man, that word takes forever to type!):
Basketball and candy:
When I was younger, my parents (Dad, mostly) made a big deal out of V-Day. My mom and I always got flowers or candy or some little trinket, and my brother got something as well. I always looked forward to the day.
One year, when I was still in grade school (my best guest is sixth grade), Dad presented Brother and I with the most super-awesome gifts we’d ever received (or so we thought). After we got home from school, buzzed on all the candy we’d gotten and hyper from carefully reading through and arranging all of our classroom valentines, we opened our cards from Dad – I mean, Mom and Dad – and oh-so-helpfully agreed to “taste test” from the box of chocolates that Mom had received. A great, happy day already. But what was this?
Presents? Boo-ya! And not just any presents: these were the Granddaddies of Them All… we were each presented with a hat. Not just any hat, mind you: these were brand-spanking new baseball caps, each bearing one of the logos of upcoming NBA expansion teams. My brother’s Vancouver Grizzlies hat and my Toronto Raptors lid were, in retrospect, the gaudiest things anyone has ever worn on their heads, but to us they were the shit. Were we huge NBA fans? Not particularly, but these were brand new teams and for some reason, this made them Extremely Novel to us, and my Dad just understood that.
Did the awesomeness end there? Oh, no, it didn’t. After marvelling over our treasures, we loaded up into the car and went to see a local college basketball game. Oh, girl: talk about excitement. Candy and cards and hats and popcorn and soda and seeing the closest thing we had to pro basketball in one day? Priceless.
Fast forward many years: I am in graduate school, leaving my assistantship to walk across campus to my internship. It’s probably around 5:00 or so, and things are pretty deserted. I pass by a stand selling single roses as a fundraiser for some school club. As I spy the table, I think to myself “Why not?” and get some money out to buy myself a rose. As I approach, I hear the sales-kid talking; he’s telling another guy who slightly beat me to the table that this is the last rose. The guy buying the last rose, sees me, and says “Oh, I’m so sorry!” “No problem,” I answer, because I am in a good mood (surely I had ingested some Valentine’s candy already). I put my money away and continue my walk across campus.
As I walk (remember, campus is very quiet this time of day), I hear running footsteps behind me. I walk quicker, because it doesn’t sound like the rhythmic just-going-for-a-run kind of steps. As they get closer, I turn around, ready to deliver a swift crotch-kick to the person who so obviously wants to attack me in broad daylight.
But it’s the guy! The guy who bought the last rose! “Here,” he says, handing it to me.
Oh my gosh! What do I say? I spit out some “thank you so much! thank you! oh my gosh!” kind of sentences, and he turns and walks the other way. I am on Cloud Nineteen, once again a big ball of mush and love.
What a fucking awesome day that was.