Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentine's Day

It's the weekend of Valentine's Day, and once again we celebrate a religious holiday with pagan practices. For Valentine's Day was once "St. Valentine's Day", and celebrated either Bishop Valentine of Terni or Valentine of Rome; both of whom were martyred in Rome. Neither of these Catholic saints, by the way, had anything to do with romance (though priests of these early days of the Catholic Church were under no forced law of celibacy)

As often happens with such religious holidays however, we've managed pervert it into a bit of commercial nonsense with the premise that nothing says love like cards, flowers, chocolate, jewelry, and cars. I have nothing against any of these things, but question their relationship to the original religious premise, or the display of love for that matter. One might even point out that the smell of flowers or the taste of chocolate are but chemical substitutes for some of the physical responses of the emotion. 

I blame Hallmark for the hype and the cards for this day (in spite of the fact that I know that the practice began long before they were around). As for the practice of handing out precious metal and jewel creations, it seems a bit mercenary to me; and I'm sorry, but the whole automobile thing is just way over the top. 

This is not to say that I haven't been guilty of many of the rites involved with this annual event. In the hope of currying favor, I too arranged for dinners out and sent tokens of esteem to the women in my life (though in my defense, I also sent tokens of esteem for no reason at all in similar and often better received attempts). I even managed to get married on a Valentine's Day in my dim and distant past. (Pretty savvy when you think about it, managing to combine the mandatory gifts for two days into one.) 

There are still women in my life that I appreciate on this day, though none that I am gifting to. For these days I must share these ladies with someone else (hey, get your mind out of the gutter and let me explain). These women include (but are not limited to) my mother whose love has always been a constant, my sisters who have put up with me longer than almost anyone else, my daughter who suffers under the looming genetic burden of her relationship to me, and my granddaughters who hold so much promise in spite of (or perhaps because of) their limited contact. 

There a likewise other women in my life, past and present, that I will remember on this holiday with affection. Two of them I once called wife and probably deserved far more and better of me than either got in time, attention, and the gifts that I once gave. Some of them were and are only friends, but have added a measure of beauty and grace to my life that I'm sure that I never deserved. 

And though none of them will be receiving deliveries this weekend (perhaps out of fear of the reactions of their various boyfriends, fiances, and husbands), they should know that they will all be in my thoughts. For it is often only in the company of such lovely creatures that men can ever hope to find their better selves. (Awww ...) To them and to all of the ladies reading this, and in spite of my rather jaded view of the practices of the occasion (Curmudgeon, remember), my wish for you is a Happy Valentine's Day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just one of your sisters sharing that you now and always underestimate yourself. You are one of the most giving people I know! Miss you!