Remember those candy hearts? In Mrs. Lamb's second-grade class circa 1969 they were all the rage about this time of year. The pastel bits of hardened sugar, and the promise of "some sugar" in the future, were enough to make a boy, well, love candy. Back then, every student was required to give a Valentine's Day card to every other student--a practice that was wrought with peril; but one that kept us less-than-Cary Grant-like characters (or, Bobby Sherman) in the mix.
It's 40 years later, and your inky servant is all eat up with love for candy. Oops, sorry honey. I like candy. I don't love it (copyright: Ron White). No, little bitty candy hearts with pithy little sweet sayings on em are fine, for what they're worth. But I'm a grown man, and the candy I'm eat up with love for starts with a bigger 'c'.
Candy is my Valentine. She has been for right at 11 years now--so she's at the age her husband was at when we first met. (She lovvvvvves it when I bring up our age difference! Ask her about it sometime!)
Valentine's Day. As a cynic, one is loathe to find anything romantic about making out of whole cloth a national holiday devoted ostensibly to "love", "romance", and the lot. But d*mmit, let us face it men, without it, we're building an ever larger dog house annually. I mean, come on. Weve just lived through the Super Bowl (in some cases, she joined in; but she was there for the commercials + Madonna et al, you were there for the Game and the pops), I'm guessing there's a hunting season or two that's ended recently (and you ignored her [not you, Melissa!]), it's cold and dark outside, and we're about to enter the longest period on the calendar between Monday holidays. We all need a big ole heart-shaped pick-me-up in mid-February.
Would it kill ya (me) to run a wash-cloth behind your ears, find your clean socks and take your bride out for night or two devoted just to her? And while we're at it, how about looking her in the eye and wearing our heart on our sleeve? (In the Victorian Era, males would draw names out of a bowl and attach the name on their sleeve during Valentine's week. This is where "wearing one's heart on his sleeve" comes from. Cheap Google plug.)
Chaucer once equated Valentine's season with the time of year when birds pair up. What a romantic was he.
My wife/my life is reading this now and I can guarantee you that she is saying to her lovely kind honest beautiful self that if I think this gets me out of sending her a Valentine's card, she would rush to disabuse me of that belief. And of course she's right.
She's always right.
Honey, I love you. I haven't made a ton of good decisions; but "pairing up" with you was the best one ever. You complete me, you allow for me, you inspire me, you improve me. And despite all evidence leading you in the opposite direction, you still seem to believe in me. And finally, like the closest of my friends have discerned necessary, you tolerate me in spots. And as my best friend, that's handy.
All I can do is, yes, go way out of my way to that "greeting card store way down the street" and pick out a card that says all this. And try to live up to all that.
[Author's Note: Happy 2nd Birthday to Mira Katherine, our lovely niece, who was named after the most elegant bride of a great man, Joseph Russell, who left us next month last year.]
Brian K. Mitchell, an R.Ph., is the owner of Mitchell Pharmacy in Kennett. He can be contacted via e-mail at
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