Rowell's Words: Valentine's Day Rituals

Rowell

February 14th is Valentine’s Day as usual. I am not going into its history, as anyone interested can “Google” it.

I wouldn’t even guarantee the accuracy of that. Let’s instead look at its relevance today.

My first recollection was being given a bag of cute little cards. I was told to take them to school the next day and give one to each of my first grade classmates. It made no sense, but I did, and was surprised when I was given one back in return. This must be some special ritual, I assumed.

The only exception was the class bully. The only thing he ever gave me was a fat lip. I won’t name him as he may still be out there somewhere and I don’t heal like I once did. He must have taken offense to the “Will you be my Valentine” part.

The upside of the day was getting to exchange cards with Nancy Harrell. She was my first love, but moved away later that year and never heard from again. I will mention her name as she never hit me. I thought she was beautiful with her cute freckles and curly brown hair.

In retrospect, I had about as much chance with her as Charlie Brown did with the Little Red-Haired Girl.

We can’t discuss the day without a mention of that infamous one in Chicago in the 1920’s. I’m talking about the “Valentine’s Day Massacre”. This was a morbid chapter in the struggle between gangland bosses, “Bugs” Moran and Al Capone. Enough of that downer on this occasion; but, I do wonder if my school bully had family in Chicago.

This is a big retail day for the florist, greeting card stores, and restaurants. Valentine’s Day is the biggest single day of the year in sales for flowers, and ranks near the top in the others. One source reported that spending for the day averages out to $136.57 per person. Someone out there has to spend $273.14 to cover me.

I’ve openly admitted to being a miser, but this is one thing my wife and I agreed on years ago. We stopped giving gifts just because a holiday called for it. We’ve made too many trips to Goodwill and CHKD, with perfectly good items to continue that practice.

We are not wealthy (I‘m not as good at picking Lotto numbers as I am a spouse); but, we are fortune to be able to buy special “thinking of you” gifts when we find them. I feel that’s what the day is all about. It is sharing not from the wallet but from the heart. After all, the most associated symbol of Valentine’s Day is a big heart.

That’s our thing and that’s how we enjoy the day. You and yours may enjoy Valentine’s Day a bit more elaborately, and that’s cool too. To each their own. That’s why Baskin-Robbins carries 31 flavors. God bless and have a great day.

Staff writer Miles Layton can be reached at mlayton@ncweeklies.com