Valentine’s Day is looming again, and I bet many of us wish it would quietly pass without any fanfare, although candy and greeting card companies offering love tokens will loudly protest. Florists also look forward to Feb. 14, glad to be working overtime to create and deliver splashy bouquets.
They would have been unhappy with a certain guy who, in my youth, gave me only one single red rose on this special day, saying that one was more meaningful than a dozen. He insisted that looking for that one perfect rose is like searching for just the right person, whereas a dozen long-stemmed beauties only dazzle and distract. He was being lyrical, never mentioning the student budget he was on, and I was impressed.
In hindsight, I should have said, “Hey, I’m in my prime here with TONS of suitors so razzle-dazzle me!” But at the time, I bought his one-rose line, and this is the guy I’m still with today.
I tell people we’ve been married for 100 years. Unless we’re into cryonics, that’s hardly possible, but for all of you out there living with the same person for, say, 20 years or more, it feels like forever, doesn’t it?
When my parents celebrated their golden wedding anniversary, he whispered to me, “Think we’re going to last 50 years?” I replied, “We have a long, long way to go, dear.”
So after three children, a dozen moves, three grandkids, a couple of cats, a guinea pig and some hamsters, we have learned not to take anything for granted. In fact on every anniversary, we fondly gaze at each other in wonderment and marvel that yet another year has gone by without one of us fleeing to Fiji or Kathmandu.
Valentine’s Day offers us both amusement and bemusement. We see ads in the newspapers and commercials on television and guffaw as others flail about looking for “just the right gift.” But my astute Significant Other has noted that it’s usually the males racing around frantically, while the females sit on royal pillows and wait in expectation.
“What happened to equal opportunity?” he grumbles. “Not fair.” I smile. “Ah, yes, well as you know, life is not fair,” and remind him that the day is getting shorter as his grumblings are getting longer.
I confess he has a big challenge ahead of him as I am not someone easily appeased by … chocolate, for example. I can take it or leave it, although from the reflection in the mirror, looks like I’ve been taking it more than leaving it.
As for his one-rose sweet-talking poetry, that went kaput after pricing an exotic red rose imported into Hilo for Valentine’s. While I admit that gold and diamonds have a certain sparkly allure, I’m rather picky about the way I decorate my neck, wrists, fingers and earlobes. Not too big, but not too small, not too heavy. but not too light, not too cheap. but not too expensive. It ain’t easy.
He also learned long ago to avoid anything flimsy or silky.
“Here, try this on, and let’s see how it looks.”
Um, thanks, but how about you try it on, then mop the floor, bathe the kids and adobo the chicken?
Besides, I have strict standards when it comes to clothing: medium-weight cotton with minimum buttonery in the tops, elastic waistband and deep pockets in the bottoms, and no zippers anywhere. It’s a lot to remember, so best to just walk past the clothes racks, especially on Valentine’s Day when sales clerks can smell desperation as soon as it (he) walks in the door.
No, none of that works for me. And by now, that frazzled makule knows exactly what he can do to earn the endearment of his charmingly low-maintenance housemate, not just on one day in mid-February, but every day. No chocolates, no diamonds, no flowers, no frou-frou outfits, thank you.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for loving thoughts and deeds, so how about cleaning the toilet and the shower? Then sweep the garage, take the trash to the dump, and whenever you feel like cooking dinner, be my guest.
Now we’re talking!
Rochelle delaCruz was born in Hilo, graduated from Hilo High School, then left to go to college. After teaching for 30 years in Seattle, Wash., she retired and returned home to Hawaii. Rochelle welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her column appears the second and fourth Monday of each month.