Monday, February 14, 2011


I am intensely grateful that Valentine's Day was NOT  celebrated during my long-ago and far-away childhood.
The last thing a weird and unpopular child needs is to have its lack of status rubbed in by a lack of cards, or by pity gifts.
My sister tells me that "Hartjes Dag" is observed in the Netherlands these days. I can only assume that Hallmark and the flower-and chocolate merchants have successfully introduced it some time after 1969.
I have quoted this before but it bears repeating.

"When I was young I was always desperately trying to GET love. Now that I am older I find it so much easier to just BE love".
That quote is one of the most important ones I have ever learned. I wish I could attribute it. On the other hand, that wish is typical of my Mercury/Jupiter/Pluto conjunction in Leo, which still values being honoured for intellectual inventions. The author of the quote is most likely beyond such concerns.

My contribution to the Valentine thing is this hard-won observation:
Humor will get you through times of no romance better than romance will get you through times with someone who just doesn't get British comedy.

Sorry to spoil the mood for anyone who is doing the red roses thing right now, but I sincerely believe that romance is vastly overrated as a source of happiness. Especially for heterosexual females.

The subtle art of seduction does not come naturally to most straight men, and the ones who are good at it often enjoy practicing it, so you end up with a broken heart anyway.

Many years ago I was working in the nicest restaurant in town. I got to serve dinner to a couple of acquaintances who were celebrating their tenth anniversary. I was so envious. My husband is one of the least romantic men I know, and date-challenged to boot. Less than a year later the husband had left the wife for her best friend. After almost 50 years (yikes!) we are still here. I appreciate that immensely.

In the movie "Postcards From The Edge" Shirley MacLaine plays the outrageous mother of an actress with drug problems (Meryl Streep). She has this wonderful scene where she sings about all the catastrophes her life has known. Each verse ends with a triumphant: "But I'm still here!"

That's us. Far from perfect, but by golly, we are still here. I am grateful.

As for the red roses: Growing flowers is a more reliable route to contentment than waiting with bated breath for their delivery.

Since this was written my husband suffered a horrid neurological illness, with characteristics of both Parkinson's and Alzheimers, that finally killed him June 1 2019. Details on the personal blog. So, in spite of lack of romance, we did the Till Death do us part thing.


Jacqui Binford-Bell said...

Lovely. So many great lines I have written out on my diary page.

Melanie Boxall said...

I'm with you here. I haven't said much this year because I have got myself into so much trouble in previous years, but I'm not a fan of this over-hyped day.

Heather Stephen said...

I am so with you,and can hear your lovely voice with your accent so clearly. The voice of reasons that you see fit my feelings perfectly but I have never so clearly had anyone else put my feelings into words Thank you. When we get face time again I will tell you a story about red roses. Loved your thinking from the first meeting.

Ien in the Kootenays said...

Thanks Melanie and Heather. Melanie, you and Martin are one of the couples I envy as an example of getting it right!