My first memories of Valentine’s Day probably involved my mum giving me enough money to buy a card and we’d exchange them, expressing how much we loved each other.
Then in school, kids sent each other roses or chocolates or whatever was going that year. And it was all a big production and the pretty girls brought in a haul or some school girls sent these gifts to all their girlfriends so the first twenty minutes of home room involved ten of the thirty kids being adorned with gifts while the other twenty waited in anticipation and hope, only to eventually feel lonesome and dejected.
I was a waiter so I worked every Valentine’s Day. The second New Year’s Eve. And it was the worst. Good for the restaurant but it seemed the men were generally grumpy because they had to spend a couple of hundred bucks, were rushed and got bad service. There was little romantic about it. Except for the odd marriage proposal.
I rarely had a girlfriend through my twenties and I never saw my wife of over twenty years on this day because I was working (she was cynical about it all anyway) so Valentine’s Day has never been anything but a pain to me. If you’re in love, you don’t need a Hallmark Day. If you’re lonely, it’s just a reminder of that loneliness.
Tomorrow is Thursday to me. I miss my wife but she’d have rolled her eyes if I made a big deal of Valentine’s Day.
Instead, I’m going to remember my old pal Jacques who died on February 14th about a decade ago. He had a big heart.
Maybe in some small way, he’s my Valentine. RIP Jacques.