OK

Greetings, lovers!

It's just an open thread and a bit of blithering this week.

Below the ginger hairball I'll blither; what you do in the comments is your own business.

Love

Valentine's Day was a holiday that I didn't really ever manage to embrace with much enthusiasm. I remember the days of my pre-pubertal youth when I'd pick out a bag of tiny, themed valentines to sign and hand out to my classmates every year. I'd go out to the store with my mom and one of us would pick something-- invariablly some cute and colorful creatures, perhaps characters from the comic strip Peanuts, gaudy reds and pinks predominant. A whole bag of these simple silhouettes with some drab little puns or a syrupy-sweet message. Mostly syrupy puns. Usually they came with tiny envelopes. Every year, signing the two dozen or so cards for my classmates; only the envelopes were personalized. It was assembly line love. Everyone got one of the randomly selected cards in their cubby-hole from me.

Every year there'd be a handful of chalky candy hearts, a bowl of them at home, a couple in an envelope with a card from a classmate.

Candy hearts in pastel colors, fat, chalky hearts that tasted a bit like toothpaste.

I did that for all of grade school- five years. Each year my mother would show me a more personal side of Valentine's Day. Heart-shaped samplers of chocolate and a card with a personalized message.

In middle school, in a different school, we no longer gave out cards to our classmates. I suppose some people handed out cards to their best friends or people they had crushes on, but I wasn't one to either give or receive. It's interesting how quickly my friends and I rejected five years of tradition. I'm afraid no girls felt any burning need to prod me with Valentine's cards for many years...

It was much the same in high school and even in college. I'd had a few, very few girl friends who seemed to be primarily summery flings of varying durations. Dating for me was mostly just a confusing, awkward mess and without fail Valentine's Day would come and go without incident.

I'd still usually get that box of candy from mom though. Not so often after I got into college and her losing battle with multiple schlerosis meant that I was doing the shopping.

It was strange, and I suppose it's still rather strange that for the last 24 years or so I've been in love with the same person and she comes from a country with no real tradition of celebrating this day. Now of course the cards, the balloons, the candy, the sweetheart specials in the bars and restaurants are all over the Czech Republic. And my Favorite Female, my wife, makes a point of buying a little treat for her husband and our sons-- a bar of chocolate, perhaps a card. She enjoys the excuse to spoil us. I feel a bit guilty not having anything prepared for her this year-- no flowers or anything. There was just an extra kiss waiting for her upon waking and wishes for a happy Valentine's Day.

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