The grinch who stole Valentine's Day

  • Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The “month of love” seems all but that to this February Scrooge. I become a person foreign to its own soul. A Cupid Grinch. It would suffice me just fine if cupid remained a concrete frieze smiling down at tourists from cold, stone buildings.

Those who know me know that I have a love/hate relationship with the month. At least the first half of it. I wish Valentine's Day could have stayed as simple as my grade school doily and red construction paper bag filled with Necco's candy conversation hearts and hand-scrawled valentines.

Hmmm, maybe the day bred expectations even then. Did you ever dump that white bag of cards onto your desk, scrambling to find one from that special guy/gal to see if he/she sent a coded special message?

The more commercial Valentine's Day becomes – the more demanding, the more predictable – the less it feels like love. As soon as a Valentine's commercial or radio ad starts, I am scrambling for the mute button or volume knob.

I am aggravated that something so trivial can aggravate me so bad. I vow annually to resolve this issue before February comes around the next year, but here we are again.

Earth itself seemed to agree with me this year, withholding her care like an angry woman who had been robbed of her 3-foot Valentine's card. The globe shook, it froze and – thank God, it thawed. So was the first half of February 2014 in Charleston, S.C.

I woke up on Feb. 15 like it was the first day of the month. A new moon of sorts. My arms stretched to the sky when I rose. Sipping coffee and thinking of blessings – I silently expressed gratefulness that I wouldn't need to turn the channel, mute the volume or avoid the dedicated aisles of the stores.

All is well, all the people that I love know that I love them still. And the proof isn't a half-eaten box of chocolate or a box of edible undies that will end up in a garage sale or forgotten and hidden in a dresser drawer to mortify a child years later when they sort through our tokens of this earth at our demise.

And then a few hours later, I got the last laugh. I walked into Harris Teeter and there are five – yes five – overstuffed buggies of 75% off flowers. Day-old Valentine's flowers! Nirvana!

The skies opened, I think I heard music and... the answer came to me! The answer to that elusive, annoying-ass problem, what to do with myself for Valentine's Day for the rest of my life.

Flip the table! Anonymously surprise those people who weren't expecting the Vermont Teddy Bear, the 50-piece chocolate box or box from Jared. When I started thinking of who may be on that list... it grew and grew and so did my heart (Imagine Valentine Scrooge here, feeling her heart beat).

Next year, I will fill my doily and red construction paper Valentine's bag with cards for:

The person who quietly offers a lifetime of unreciprocated love to another.

The pessimist (A card AND a box of Good and Plenty).

The person cloaking a hurting heart.

The widow/widower.

The father who misses the game because he is working overtime to give his kid that shoe with a stripe.

The mother who feigns she isn't hungry so that there is enough food to go around.

The scared one.

The selfless person who avoids pettiness and greed as dirty bathwater.

The one who hold secrets to their chest that would cause pain to others.

The angry ones, they walk the streets with placid smiles, like walking dead.

Maybe – just maybe, the 14 days before Valentine's Day won't be enough time for me to celebrate!

Happy belated Valentine's everyone! But to those special ones above: May the God who knows and sees all injustices, fill your planter with a bird-dropped wildflower seed, offer up a rainbow from a miniscule drop of water, or fill up five grocery carts with clearance, day-old flowers and chocolates!

And contrary to popular belief piddlin' is not always leisure time. Piddlin' can be anything from bush-hogging a field to snapping a bushel basket of green beans on the front porch.

Visit Renae Brabham's website at www.renaebrabham.com.

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