Valentime’s Day


I am a romantic.  But I am also a curmudgeon.  Being a Romantic Curmudgeon is an oxymoron?  Just who are you calling a moron?   Anyway, you’ve probably noticed that Valentine’s Day is commonly mispronounced as Valentime’s Day.   I searched a bit to see if I could discover why but there seems to be no consistent explanation, although there is a lot of interesting … and humorous … discussion here.  I found this interesting:

It has a lot to do with the formation of the phonemes in the mouth. We have a tendency toward certain phonemic combinations that are easier to pronounce when speaking quickly. When you say, “Valentimes”, the progression through your mouth (pay attention to your tongue), is from back to front. If you say, “Valentines”, there is a break in that pattern where your tongue must slip backwards to pronounce the “-ines” portion of the word. Our mouths and tongues like easy, and will seek that out when possible. It is linguistic laziness.

I also discovered that the world seems to be neatly divided into those who find the mispronunciation very annoying and those that don’t give a rat’s patoot.  I would fall in the former group (partly because I’m not sure what a patoot is), somewhat short of a Grammar Nazi but certainly a member in good standing of the Grammar Police.  So, let’s make this clear: ValentiNe’s Day.

For a holiday that is so widely recognized, the day certainly has a hazy and questionable history.   First off, it is a former Catholic holiday that was dumped from the calendar by the church because it is not entirely clear who St. Valentine was or what he did.  According to NPR, the Romans celebrated the feast of lupercalialupercalia from February 13 to 15 in which men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain.  Young women would actually line up for the men to hit them. They believed this would make them fertile.  Ever on the lookout for a pagan ritual to eliminate, the church combined St. Valentine’s Day with Lupercalia in the 5th century.  Pagan rituals are, of course, hard to exterminate …  according to a survey, 55 percent of both men and women are open to trying something new sexually, just because it’s Valentine’s Day, meaning there must be some very kinky old couples out there.

garlandDuring my walk on the trail by Yorba Regional Park yesterday, I came across several Valentine’s Day garlands hung on a tree.  Unless I knew the history of that spot, it would mean nothing.  But the tree was the site of a memorial to John Berry, a homeless man who frequented the park and well-known to the park’s regulars.  He was murdered in 2012 at a shopping strip near the park and for months, flowers,  photos and memorials were left on a rock under the tree until the park rangers decided it violated some arcane park rule.  It was nice to know someone remembered, perhaps his sister who lives in the area or one of the park folks who knew him.

It’s easy to forget amidst the cards and flowers and the billions of dollars spent on jewelry on Valentine’s Day that for those who have lost a loved one,candle too particularly on or around February 14, the day can be a sad one … excruciating even.   My brother, a self-proclaimed romantic, lost his son on Valentine’s Day and has been fighting his way back to enjoying the day ever since.  He is healing, but slowly, as you can imagine.  My heart aches for him every year, even as I deal with my own son’s issues.

For years, I was the ultimate Valentine’s Day romantic, planning Valentine’s Day weekends away and buying splashy gifts.  Then, eleven years ago, a little reed 3bundle hijacked Valentine’s Day as his birthday.  My grandson Reed is eleven today and it is his first birthday we’ll be missing because they have moved from Arizona to Utah.  So this Valentine’s Day feels a little empty, and both Muri and I weren’t inclined toward a super-romantic day.  The things we want at this stage of our lives are things money can’t buy and after 47 years for marriage, we’re too old to try something new in bed.  OK, maybe sleeping late.  We exchanged cards and a few small gifts this morning and we have reservations at Tommy Bahama’s Island Grill tonight.  Low key feels OK this year.  We’ll call Reed a little later and wish him Happy birthday.  And the grandkids will be here next week to go to Disneyland.  They are even bringing their parents.  Life is good, in spite of itself.

Happy Valentine’s Day


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One Comment on “Valentime’s Day”

  1. yasniger Says:

    Reblogged this on Yas Niger and commented:
    Happy Valentines Day Everyone

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