Gifts of love
Out of curiosity, I visited several internet sites to learn more about the origin and purpose of Valentine’s Day, and learned that it is a time when people show feelings of love, affection and friendship. It is celebrated in many ways worldwide and falls on February 14 each year. These feelings are often shared by taking a loved one for a romantic dinner at a restaurant while others may choose this day to propose or get married. Many people give greeting cards, chocolates, jewelry or flowers, particularly roses, to their partners or admirers on Valentine’s Day.
It is believed that the origin of Valentine’s stems from the story of St Valentine, a Roman priest who was martyred on or around February 14 in the year 270 CE. Eventually the custom of sending anonymous cards or messages to those whom one admired became the accepted way of celebrating Valentine’s Day. There was an increase in interest, first in the United States and then in Canada, in the mid-19th century. Early versions of Valentine cards fashioned of satin and lace and ornamented with flowers, ribbons, and images of cupids or birds appeared in England in the 1880s.
Somehow Valentine’s Day loses its glory when you become an adult, marry a rancher and live in a remote area. February can be a busy time, and although love and affection is still prominent in the marriage, the ways of expressing those feelings are often shared in ways other than the traditional methods stated above.
Perhaps some of the most unusual Valentine gifts have been received when the spouse (usually husband) “forgets” the occasion and comes up with a remedy for his forgetfulness. One such instance was when the husband came home with a new skid loader, but had completely forgot to get a valentine for the missus. He promptly told her that in lieu of getting a fox (coat) like her friend had received for Christmas, he bought her a bobcat. Another fellow went to an auction sale and purchased a used chicken plucker. It had a good motor on it that he intended to use to replace the non-working one on his auger. After arriving home, his wife acted quite cool towards him and upon realizing that it was Valentine’s Day, he offered the chicken plucker as a gift for her. He also related that she was not amused, and several years later he got the machine in the divorce settlement.
Poetry is also popular in various capacities regarding Valentine’s Day. Here is a poem I penned for my husband:
It’s wonderful how every year
folks send a valentine
to ones they care a lot about
to let their love light shine.
But long ago we both agreed
that’s something we’d forego;
we were building up a cow herd
and were really short on dough.
It was back there in the Seventies
when all the kids were small,
you didn’t have the extra cash
to buy gifts for us all,
but you told me that you loved me,
and that was good enough;
but then you sure surprised me,
let us say you called my bluff
when you bought me those new overshoes,
it was something I would need
when trudging through those sloppy pens
each time I’d help you feed.
You’ve always done nice things for me
to show your gratitude
and I don’t know why some folks
made those comments that are rude.
Remember in the Eighties
when we had that awful snow?
The winds came up and temperatures
hit twenty-some below.
Those chopper mitts you bought
deserved my sincere thanks,
they kept my hands from freezing
chopping ice from all the tanks.
And about those plastic flower
you bought at the Dollar Store;
they still look fresh and pretty,
and who could ask for more?
But just when I was thinking
that our love life had grown cold,
the Valentine I got this year
was like the mother lode.
It’s just what I’ll be needing
when we get some warmer weather;
…a pair of brand new plammers
so we can go fix fence together!
© Yvonne Hollenbeck
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