A great Valentine’s Day gift

Published 7:29 pm Tuesday, February 9, 2010

This year, Valentine’s Day is on Sunday, so gentlemen, don’t wait until the last minute to order those dozen roses.

The florists might be closed, along with the jewelers.

I know there’s always Wally World and the big supermarkets, but please take care of business before Sunday morning.

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Me? Some might call me cheap, but I prefer the more elegantly fashionable word, frugal. It’s a more genteel and sensitive word that illuminates my inner nature. Look it up. Frugal is an adjective for one who seeks to “avoid an unnecessary monetary expenditure.” I’m sensitive to the width of my wallet. The thicker the better.

But far be it from me to miss an opportunity to express that greatest of emotions, love.

“How do I love thee?” begins the Elizabeth Barrett Browning Sonnet No. 43. It continues with an accounting of the ways. The words are beautiful and cost nothing to memorize. Perhaps, I could do that. Memorize the poem and recite it to Donna Sue as she arises Sunday morning.

“How do I love thee?” I would begin. “Let me count the ways. One, two, three, four….” I would go on and on with numbers until she stopped me.

“What are you doing?” she would ask.

“I’m counting the ways I love thee,” I would answer. “Now where was I? Five, six, seven….”

I’m not sure that poetry stuff will work. Maybe I should try flowers. I could get a dozen roses. Like the young man who loved his girlfriend so much that he promised her a rose for every year of her life. She swooned, “oh how romantic.”

He visited his regular florist and ordered 21 roses, one for each of his beautiful girlfriend’s life. The florist loved the business that the young man brought him all during the year and decided, unbeknownst to the young man, to add an extra dozen roses.

The next day, his girlfriend received her gift of roses with great anticipation until she saw that her boyfriend had sent her 33 roses instead of 21. The young man never found out why she was so mad because she never talked to him again!

It will come as no surprise to you that Valentine’s Day is a florist’s busiest day. And of all the cut flowers sold that day, at least one-half are roses. Over 100 million roses will be sold during the three-day period that encompasses Valentine’s Day.

Maybe I could go with candy this year. The heart-shaped red boxes of candy have been on the shelves of our stores for many weeks now. Most of them are filled with chocolates delight. Chocolate is good to the taste and good for the emotions. One of the important substances within chocolate is known scientifically as phenylethylamine. I can’t say it or spell it without help, but it definitely affects the human body.

Phenylethylamine lifts our spirits and energizes our bodies. Its levels in the brain have been linked to “falling in love.” I guess that’s one of the main reasons why chocolate and Valentine’s Day go hand in hand. Another great thing about chocolate, if you choose the right kind, is that if your loved one doesn’t eat it, you can!

Another kind of candy that’s not chocolate, but associated with Valentine’s day are those sour, little pastel-colored hearts with the cute messages on them. Remember them from school? They are from the NECCO Company and are called Sweethearts. They’ve been around since Abraham Lincoln was president.

Perhaps no Valentine gift would be complete without a card. In fact when the word valentine is spoken, it most often refers to “a” valentine, which is a card. The idea of sending a card to express love is almost 2,000 years old. The first Valentine note or card could have been sent as far back as 289 AD.

I say, “could have,” because there is no way of being sure of just which Valentine of ancient times (there were three) is the original. One legend has Valentine of Rome being imprisoned during the time of Emperor Claudius. He is accused of giving aid to prisoners. While in prison, he became enamored of his jailer’s daughter. Legend has it that he sent her a love letter and signed it “From Your Valentine.”

The origin of who, when and where the tradition of Valentine cards may have begun is unclear, but there is no misunderstanding of the popularity of today’s tradition of sending Valentine cards and wishes.

Of the percentage of people who participate in Valentine’s Day, 65 percent give cards. The aforementioned candy is used by 38 percent, while flowers are sent by 32 percent. An estimated 1 billion cards will be sent, worldwide, this year.

The Valentine’s Day dilemma is a kind of romantic paper-rock-scissors game.

Which will it be for you?


Whichever you choose, I hope your choice will have the right feeling behind it. After all is said and done, one day of showing some effort won’t make up for the rest of the year if you have taken for granted that one who means so much.

Valentine’s Day is about love and about showing it. I think it is pretty appropriate that this year Valentine’s Day is on Sunday. That’s the Lord’s Day and no matter how many flowers or cards we send, no matter how many boxes of chocolates are sold, no matter what beautiful words are spoken, God has trumped all our gifts. He has sent us the greatest Valentine of all time. And He spared no expense.