Carol assigned the three of us this task: "Think back to celebrating Valentine's Day in Elementary School, and share about any memory or memories you may have from one or more of those celebrations, and how it made you feel."
If you go here, you can read about how much Christy loves Valentine's Day and, here, you can read about how all the feelings of Carol's boy crazy youth are now reserved only for Paul.
Well, I am going to have to invoke the Fleetwood Mac option on this assignment. I'm going to pretend that when any of us cannot answer the question as given, we would say to the other siblings, well, sib, go your own way.
Back in 1997, the Deke and I emailed each other through a lot of the summer. We made each other laugh. We told stories. We revealed that we each had an encyclopedic memory of the tv cartoons of our youth.
It wasn't like we were emailing each other across the country or even across the state.
We lived about six blocks from each other.
In late August, the Deke emailed that enough was enough and said we ought to get off line and go do something. (Somewhere in this period of time we also decided to write scenarios of things we might do -- we've both kept them -- neither of us submitted "live in Maryland" to the other -- and when I get the story straight, I'll have to write about this one day.)
We decided to go watch the Eugene Emeralds play. Jerome had given me a couple of tickets and I'd been looking for someone to use them with me, and so we walked from 940 Madison to Civic Stadium and back again, and somewhere, either coming or going, stopped at Field's for a drink.
That night, this happened. Here's the conversation:
Out of the blue, I said, "You know what? I hate Valentine's Day."
Deke: "Really! Me, too!"
Me: "Let's get married!"
I didn't really say we should get married, but I could have, and, as things played out, Deke and Molly and Patrick and Adrienne moved into my house in November and we did get married in December.
I don't want to get into the details of why I don't pay attention to Valentine's Day and am very happy to be married to the Deke who also doesn't pay attention to Valentine's Day, except with Molly, Patrick, and Adrienne when they were younger and with our grandchildren now.
She bought M, P, and A chocolate when they were younger and right now Valentine's Day cards for the grandchildren are ready to be mailed.
(Sibs: If you have sent or are going to send me a Valentine's Day card, no problem: I'll enjoy the thought. I'm not that big of a Scrooge!)
I know that my ill feelings about Valentine's Day do not go back to elementary school. All I can really remember about Valentine's Day back then is that some kind of a card exchange used to happen and the best part of that was that I felt some of the twinges of attraction to girls in my room that felt fun and made me act silly and that I didn't know anything about.
I pretty much have one generalized memory of those days and it's all harmless.
As I got older, though, Valentine's Day turned into a pressure day.
Like I said, I won't go into detail, but with more than one woman in my life over the years, Valentine's Day could have been renamed Anxiety Day.
I had little feeling for the day and I so on the run up to Valentine's Day, I never gave it much thought. When I did give it thought, I resisted buying a card or flowers or chocolates (that seemed so cliche), but I never made any real effort to replace the cliche with something else.
Within myself, I just didn't care.
But, if I didn't do something -- well, on more than one occasion my inaction brought about tears of disappointment and, in one case, I was with someone for whom Valentine's Day was in the same holiday league as Christmas or a birthday. She showered me with gifts and I didn't have much to show in return -- maybe a chocolate truffle or something.
One Valentine's Day during that time in my life, I remember driving all over Eugene, racking my brain as to what to buy and where that would bring happiness on Valentine's Day and not disappointment or criticism. I can't remember if I succeeded. I only remember the pressure I felt -- well, and the resistance, too.
I hated it.
This year, when Saturday rolls around, the Deke and I will wake up in Molly and Hiram's townhouse while they are in Pittsburgh to see Hiram's brother play the role of the beast for the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater.
We'll have coffee.
We'll help David and Olivia with breakfast.
I'll probably go to Huntley Meadows or even go into D. C.
Sometime during the day, I might say:
"Deke. You know what day it is?"
Then, in a pretend mushy voice,I'll croon: "Happy Valentine's Day..."