By Michael Stephenson
Ah, Valentine’s Day. Flowers and chocolates, hearts and violins, dimly lighted restaurants, huge bills because coupons are invalid on this special day; soft glances and fluttering eyelashes, proposals on bended knee, love and marriage, kids and carriage.
It seems strange that a man will propose to a girl under a light he wouldn’t dream of choosing a suit by. However, that is explained by The Seventh Immutable Law of Universal Science which states that all women are glamorous by candlelight and all men are dashing.
Ah, Valentine’s Day. In February. In Manitoba. That special day when you buy your sweetheart a box of chocolates and a baseboard heater. For you, she gets the latest in longjohns.
Ah, Valentine’s Day. I remember every one of them like they were yesterday. Last year I asked Sweetie if she’d like to go somewhere in particular for Valentine’s Day. She said, “Yes, sweetheart, take me someplace I’ve never been before,” so I took her to the kitchen stove. No, no, just kidding. She’s really a wonderful cook…..now. When we met and were dating, she cooked a wonderful casserole for me on our first Valentine’s Day together.
“I only know how to cook two things,” she explained, being perfectly honest right from the start “Beef stew and cherry pie” .On the big day, I finally got to taste it. “It’s really excellent,” I said, surprised. “Which is this one?”
The next Valentine’s Day I went to her place and as soon as I walked in she exclaimed, “Oh, sweetheart! You’ve asked my father for my hand.”
“No, Sweetie,” I said, “I’ve just been in a car accident.”
Always on that special day, she had the table set elegantly, and in the candlelight over our delicious beef or cherry stuff would ask, “Do you love me, darling?”
“Of course, Sweetie. More than anything,” I always replied earnestly.
“Would you die for me?” This was where the fluttering eyelashes came in.
“No, Sweetie. Mine is an undying love.”
My buddy Sammy, who had been divorced for a while, confided that he was ready for another round of marriage and intended to propose on Valentine’s Day. Later I asked if he had indeed proposed.
“I did,” he said. “But we can’t get married because of her speech impediment.”
“Oh, Sammy, I’m sorry. What is it?”
“She can’t say ‘yes’,” said Sammy. That’s the way it goes sometimes. Even for the ladies. Take our friend, Sophie the Pistol.
We all suspected that Bob was going to propose. On Valentine’s Day, the gang gathered at our house for the usual pre-Happy Hour warmup to Happy Hour. Someone finally asked Pistol if she and Bob were indeed tying the knot.
“Nah,” she snorted. “I turned him down and he’s been hitting the booze ever since.”
“Well,” declared Harry, “I call that carrying a celebration too far.”
“Never mind,” said Darlene, sympathetically, “the man who marries our Pistol is definitely getting a prize.”
“Oh,” said Ron, perking up. “What is it?”
Sweetie came out with a fresh jug of margaritas. Actually, it’s not so much a jug as a barrel with a handle. She really has become a whiz in the kitchen.
“Say, Geoff,” Wild Lester asked, “did you ever give Iris that little lecture on economy you talked about?”
“You’re darn right I did!”
“Yes,” said Iris poking her head around the corner “He has to give up scotch.”
Ron piped up. “You know, Alice, all you ever think about is your golf. I’ll bet you don’t even remember the day we got married.”
“Are you kidding, Honeybuns? Of course I remember!” said Alice cheerfully. “It was one thirty in the afternoon. That’s the morning I got a birdie on the 12th hole.”
Wild Lester snuggled wickedly closer to his wife. “What say we dump this crowd and go out and have some fun tonight, Chickie?”
“Sure,” she said. “And leave the light on in the hallway if you get in before I do.”
Darlene rustled her newspaper. “I’m just reading here about a couple who got married after a courtship that lasted fifty years. Can you believe it?”
“I suppose the poor guy was too feeble to hold out any longer,” said Wild Lester.
“Wouldn’t it be nice,” he went on, stupidly, “if all of our sweeties could be like June Cleaver?
“Why not? All they have to do is practice baking fresh bread in high heels, a flared dress, frilly apron and full makeup every day.”
At that moment, Sweetie jumped up and produced a rainbow-wrapped package. “Well, I for one believe in going all out on Valentine’s Day. I’ve bought you a beautiful surprise, Hon,” she declared, waving the parcel tantalizingly.
“Oh, wow!” I sat up. “I can’t wait to see it!”
“Okay,” she said. “I’ll put it on for you later.”
Now that’s what I call a Valentine’s Day present.
Michael Stephenson is a retired 25-year veteran of the Royal Canadian Air Force. A displaced Cape Bretoner, he and his wife, Sally, live in Portage la Prairie. Both are enthusiastic world travelers, and especially love driving around all parts of Mexico. Michael’s book, High Arctic watch – the frozen chosen, will be available in early summer 2020.