Forgettable Valentine's Day Memories From Brenda

Editor's note: Today we welcome as a new columnist Murrieta resident Brenda Calloway, who will sort through her proverbial broom closet...

Editor's note: Today we welcome as a new columnist Murrieta resident Brenda Calloway, who will sort through her proverbial broom closet each week to share some gems with our readers. As Brenda says, you never know what you might find in there.

By Brenda Calloway

Get ready for a happy Valentine's Day!

Valentine’s Day history is shrouded in mystery. Its beginnings are traced back to Rome, where it was celebrated as a pagan fertility festival in mid-February. Later, the Christian church chose mid-February to celebrate St. Valentine and changed the pagan celebration into a Christian holiday. As it became more of a romantic celebration, the 14th was chosen for the actual holiday because people, at the time, believed that day to be the first day that birds began to mate.

St. Valentine was a third century Roman Saint whose name became associated with this special day. What did he do that was so special? I can’t answer that question, so let’s look at the holiday from a different perspective.

For some, Valentine’s Day evokes memories of lonely days and empty classroom mailboxes. For others, it brings to mind expensive gifts, romantic adventures and falling in love. Then, to a small group of us, it brings memories of laughter.

With Valentine’s Day upon us once again, I thought it would be fun to share a humorous story or two for those of us who enjoy the third category.

I was talking to one of my son-in-laws and asked him if he liked Valentine’s Day. He explained that he had never really gotten into the spirit of it all, that it was really just a commercialized holiday designed to suck the money out of everyone. After all, Americans today spend as a nation approximately $20 billion on the holiday.

He said that as he was growing up, he used to ask his mom for money so he could purchase something special for his little girl interests. He would then take the money his mom so lovingly gave to him and spend it on himself. My son-in-law is clearly not a hopeless (or as I like to call them, "hopeful") romantic, so I am glad that he married my one daughter (out of the five) who shares his views on love.

This line of talk started more stories being told of funny V-days gone by, and one that made me chuckle was about my son’s friend. He was in the fifth grade at the time. His friend came to school one day, not thinking anything special about this particular day. When he arrived at school, he noticed that his little class room mailbox was full of treats and a card from his childhood girlfriend. He then realized that it was Valentine’s Day and that he had forgotten all about it.

When he was made painfully aware of his error, he promptly broke up with his girlfriend. Then she immediately went to his mailbox and cleared it of all of its contents. I found this story charming for obvious reasons, but find it even funnier because I have observed this same relationship going on today with adults my own age.

From my own experience, Valentine’s Day has been a balance of both worlds. Sometimes it has been a romantic holiday, sometimes lonely and then sometimes really funny (at least when looked back upon).

I can remember one year, I had gone through quite a bit of trouble to make it a romantic adventure for my husband and I. We had just married the year before and I was hugely pregnant with our first child when Valentine’s Day hit. I tried, on a very meager budget, to pull out all the stops. I had my mom help me make a huge picnic basket full of food. I purchased a bottle of sparkling cider and borrowed some wine glasses from her as well. I even went as far as purchasing a red nightie that was big enough for my large belly (I’m not sure what I was thinking).

I borrowed my parent’s car (we had yet to purchase our own) and scheduled a time to take my hubby to the beach and have a romantic picnic for two. When my husband got home from work, the anticipation was palpable. With the car loaded, I was so excited for this surprise to go off without a hitch. I told him to get dressed in something warm and that I was going to take him somewhere special. But he had had a bad day at work and was really tired. He also had forgotten that it was Valentine’s Day altogether.

He told me he really just wanted to relax with me at home and watch TV. I could see that our marriage was off to a very good start. I pouted and after a bunch of nagging and pushing him, he finely gave in and we were off. We got to the beach and it was so cold and windy, it was really hard to enjoy this winter’s day feast. I’m sure my sweetheart was wondering what I had been smoking to think of doing something like this on such a cold day, and why I would ever smoke anything while being pregnant - ha ha.

He then tried to sweetly endure this cold dinner for two. By the time we got home, we were both cold and annoyed. I went and put on my nightie, which was huge and went all the way to my feet. I passed a mirror and started to cry, realizing much too late that with my head on my huge body, I looked more like a pea on a potato than anything sexy or romantic. My husband had to comfort me and hold me while I cried about the whole thing.

It is funny to us now, more so than it was to us back then. The most romantic part of the whole night was how he listened and cared for me after the tears and whining were over. That is why after five children, two son-in-laws, 25 years of marriage and many more Valentine’s Days (some more successful than others), we are still together and still in love.

Whether this Valentine's Day is more about loving family members, your favorite pet, your significant other or yourself, I hope all of you have a VERY happy Valentine’s day! And to help your Valentine’s Day go better than my first married one went, here is a favorite recipe for Valentine’s Day cookies:

Mama’s BIG Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 ½ sticks of butter (1 ¼ cup)
¾ cup of packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 ½ t. of vanilla
3 cups of oatmeal (slightly ground up)
1 ½ cups of flour
1 t. of baking soda
½ t. salt
1/8 t. nutmeg
1 c. of chocolate chips
½ c. butterscotch chips
½ c. white chocolate chips

Mix ingredients together and then use an ice cream scooper to place on pan. Flatten the cookie scoop slightly with your hand. Bake cookies at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. The cookie sheet placement should be 2 across and 4 down. Enjoy!

Brenda Calloway is a happy wife and a mother of five beautiful daughters. She loves her family, the outdoors, to read, bake and all things medicinal.


Columns 2006451809596662443

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