I got caught short on time this week for a fresh column due to a conflict. Hope you don’t mind this recycled column from a few years ago. The message is still timely!
I thought about the tense of the title a lot as I was preparing this column. Should it be “Who’s your Valentine” or “Who was your Valentine”?
Unfortunately, for many of us seniors, “was” is the case. And for those of you whose Valentine has already gone on ahead, I’m sure last week’s holiday was particularly poignant. I know it was in our family because my mother-in-law lost her Valentine last fall. If there ever was a Valentine courter, it was Grandpa Sandy. When he was trying to woo mom’s heart after she had been widowed, I sometimes thought it would have been cheaper for him to buy his own flower shop because he constantly surrounded her in fresh red roses.
So it was not a total surprise when I got a call on Valentine’s Day morning from a somewhat tearful mother-in-law asking if we would go by the cemetery and pay tribute to Grandpa Sandy (she lives 200 miles from the cemetery); I assured her we would. And before the day was done, I made it a priority to go pay my respects at his graveside. There is something almost mystical about being alone in a cemetery with a loved one who you once knew as a vibrant living person.
Last week my wife and I were in Wal-Mart a few days before Valentine’s Day and the place was a sea of red……balloons, teddy bears, pajamas, lingerie and chocolate everywhere. I commented to my wife and to the checkout clerk, a four year veteran employee, about how much of that stuff would be left on the shelves. The clerk quickly assured us that every one of those balloons would be sold before it was over. I had a fleeting thought right then that we are in the wrong business; should we open a “Valentine Angels” and only work a couple weeks a year? Temping idea, eh?
It all seems so commercial sometimes, and I suspect for men especially, a hassle (you must see the same frantic last minute male shoppers I do going through this sea of red trying to find not just the “right thing” but “any old thing” that will help them dispense of this annual mid-February chore that arrives right on the heels of their Super Bowl weekend. I’ll confess that I’ve been there a time or two in years gone by with the pressure of corporate life breathing down my neck.
But here in recent years, as the tense of this column title suggests, I’ve tried to be more mindful of how blessed I am to still have my Valentine with me. Can I share with you for a moment one my favorite recent celebrations? Don’t worry it won’t be one of the intimate ones. A few years ago I had just finished rebuilding an old Dodge pickup truck for nostalgia’s sake. It was all dressed up in new red and black upholstery and a shiny new black paint job. I went shopping for the requisite roses but added to it a red and white checkered table cloth, with paper plates and napkins and prepared a lunch in a wicker picnic basket and then proceed to ask my Valentine to have a special tail gate version of a Valentine lunch at Rozar Park overlooking the lake. I even made it complete with RC Cola© and Moon Pie© for desert. Sure, it was an over the top thing but we still talk about it more than any other Valentine celebration.
I highly recommend something just as over the top for the masculine readers of this column who still have their Valentines with them.
Thanks for reading All About Seniors. See you next week!
Bill Milby, CSA, is a Certified Senior Advisor and a Director of Visiting Angels® of Macon, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors. If you have questions or comments about this column you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org