Friday Favorites 2/14/2014

heartsLast Tuesday, I stopped by our local Target for a few sundries (What are sundries, anyway?  Things too inconsequential to mention separately.  Yes.) when I noticed small crowd gathered around the greeting card counter.  Behind them was an array of red and pink cards in categories such as Husband, Wife, Son, Daughter, Mother, Father, Romantic, Friend, Funny, Co-Worker and Anyone.  Do you think those categories are mutually exclusive (Really.  Think about it).  There were even several cards for The Dog (but alas, none for the poor Cat … who probably doesn’t care anyway).  Most of the Valentine’s Day card-seekers were women … it was only Tuesday after all.  By Thursday afternoon … and Friday morning … it will be all men, frantically searching for that perfect card, likely to contain that special Valentine’s Day sentiment, I don’t tell you enough.  Do you think Target pays a crowd of frantic-looking women to stand around the cards to remind men men that Valentine’s Day is only three days away?

It’s easy to be cynical about Valentine’s Day.  After all, it originally celebrated several saints named Valentine about whom so little is known that the Catholic Church dropped them from its liturgical calendar.  And the connections between these saints and romance are mostly mythological.  Nothing happened on Valentine’s Day.  However, since Valentine’s Day merchandise makes it’s appearance as soon as the Christmas stuff is taken down, you know the holiday is still firmly in place on the commercial calendar.  People who want a significant other but don’t have one get depressed on Valentine’s Day.  Just reading the list of How to Get Through Valentine’s Day Being Single on wikihow.com is depressing.  People who don’t want a relationship are annoyed that somehow Valentine’s Day implies they should.  Those who’ve had their hearts broken find the day a heart-thorn, its pain reflecting the depth of the heartbreak and its proximity to February 14.   Some romantics rejoice in the holiday while others say, Why should I need a holiday to express how I feel to my beloved?  Nobody really talks like that anymore but it’s a good question to ask here on Valentine’s Day.

lakeviewFor many years, Muri and I took long-weekend romantic vacations around Valentine’s Day.  Nine years ago today, Muri and I were on a Valentine’s weekend at a bed and breakfast in Lake Arrowhead, CA.   We rose early, enjoyed a breakfast of Creme Brule pancakes (the specialty of the B and B) then made a mad drive down the mountain to get Muri to the airport so she could be in Arizona for the birth of our first grandson, Reed.  Although having a grandchild had never been on my personal Top Ten List, that day changed everything.  I discovered my Grandfather Gene.  I became Papa.  And February 14 became Reed’s Birthday first and Valentine’s Day second.  That Valentine’s Day is this week’s Friday Favorite.

reed baby

We’re here in Arizona to celebrate both.  Happy Birthday, Reed.  Happy Valentine’s Day, Muri.  And Happy Valentine’s Day, readers.   To my brother and his wife, whose February 14 is forever darkened by tragedy, my love and prayers.  May your love for each other soften the pain.

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