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Valentine’s Day sinks to new lows. February 14, 2010

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
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Our friend Ben was planning to write something uplifting about Valentine’s Day. Thanks to the advent of beautiful, inexpensive grocery-store bouquets (and Silence Dogood and I saw dozens of examples at our local grocery yesterday), I don’t know how anyone could object to a day that celebrates love with a little thoughtfulness.

However. After reading today’s words of wisdom from our favorite columnist, Spencer Soper, who writes the “On the Cheap” column for our local paper, the Allentown PA Morning Call, our friend Ben would be remiss not to share the gist of it with you. (You can read the column, “Give your special valentine a gift of thrift,” in its entirety and even see a how-to video at www.mcall.com/onthecheap. And you’ll get an extra thrifty tip as well.)

Apparently a fan had contacted Spencer with a story that was so good he couldn’t refuse to pass it on to his readers, as we are now at Poor Richard’s Almanac. She said that a good friend of hers didn’t have enough money to buy the guy she was dating the Valentine’s Day gift she really wanted to give him, which was to have a star named after him. But whatever she lacked in financial acumen she made up for in creativity, admittedly of a most peculiar kind. Did she cook him a wonderful dinner or knit him a scarf or make him a collage or give him a massage, or, say, bake the biggest, baddest chocolate cake, with tons of fresh whipped cream and some vanilla ice cream and hot fudge sauce on top, on record? (Not that that’s a hint or anything.)

No. Apparently this woman was the sort who, once she had an idea, never deviated from the general concept. Her idea had been to have a star named for her honey. She couldn’t afford it. So instead, she decided to pretend to have a pothole named after him in another state, made up a street name where the pothole was located, faked a certificate of authenticity, printed it out, and framed it. If you think you’re not reading that right, think again. This woman decided to pretend that she’d paid to have a pothole named for her boyfriend as a Valentine’s present. I’d have to say that’s sinking pretty low (depending, of course, on the depth of the pothole).

Spencer goes on to reveal that, as it turns out, her sweetie was not amused, even though he didn’t grasp that it was a joke. He thought it was a really stupid waste of money. However, the couple was apparently on the same mental wavelength, despite a slightly disparate sense of humor; their friend informed Spencer that they’ve now been married for 20 years. Our friend Ben can only hope that they refrained from producing offspring.

In passing, Spencer revealed that this year, “the typical couple will spend $63.34 on Valentine’s Day gifts for their significant other or spouse.” How did you do by comparison? Our friend Ben and Silence are pretty good about coming up with low-budget presents without sinking to the gag-gift level. (A pothole certificate would not have gone over too well with either of us.) We could have gone the practical route—Yaktrax for my boots to keep me from sliding on the ice, new winter boots for Silence (hey, February’s cold around here), and we both would have appreciated that—but this year, we opted for the enjoyable instead.

So, bookaholics that we are, we headed to our favorite used bookstore, Saucony Book Shop in scenic Kutztown, PA, and got each other three books each: cookbooks (of course) for Silence (I suspect you’ll be hearing more about them later) and history books for me. We were both ecstatic. And yes, in case that’s not romantic enough for you, there’ll be a bit more: I’ll treat Silence to a rare dinner out tonight (and a bouquet of those grocery-store flowers), and she’ll make me a wonderful dessert (uh, did someone say chocolate cake?!). But the books are the gifts we’ll turn to with pleasure again and again.      

Speaking of bouquets, let me close this Valentine’s Day post with a very happy ending. We were visiting our dear friend Huma and her wonderful 18-year-old twins, Rashu and Sasha, yesterday. (Of course we’d brought our beloved black German shepherd Shiloh, who adores Huma and the boys, along.)

As we were leaving, we saw that FedEx had dropped off what was obviously a box of long-stemmed roses at Huma’s door. They’d been correctly sent to her address, but unfortunately, were addressed to another name. As we left, Huma was heading back inside to try to solve the mystery. And this morning, there was very happy news via e-mail: There had, it turned out, only been one phone number with that last name in Huma’s directory. Calling it, she discovered that the house was just down the street, and that a distant son had sent those roses to his 93-year-old mother, who lived with her other son. The local son came by, picked up the flowers, and delivered them to his mom in time for Valentine’s Day.

Silence and I wish you and yours a joyful Valentine’s Day. May you get your heart’s desire and give your beloved his or hers! And most of all, may you remember that the perfect gift is the love that shows itself every day.



1. joey - February 14, 2010

Sounds perfectly delightful and ♡♥Hearts♥♡ romantic! How true ~ the perfect gift IS the love that shows itself every day. Thanks for the reminder 🙂

Awww, thanks, Joey! Hope you’re enjoying a wonderful Valentine’s Day as well!

2. gailae - February 15, 2010

Thank you all;-) I hope your day has been marvelous! We had a great walk in Edwin Warner Park and then breakfast with friends…Right now we are involved in some parallel play…I am blogging and M is surfing. I think a perfect day overall!xoxogail

Sounds good to us, Gail! We’ve settled in with “Quigley Down Under” and some really, really decadent cake our neighbor brought us, with Shiloh at our feet and the cats positioned appropriately…

3. Jen - February 15, 2010

That pothole story is too funny! I made a Valentine breakfast for the family today, but later in the day my husband and I went to an “Indian Love Seder” that promised Indian food, poetry and relationship tips. He was a little reluctant, but it turned out to be very special – not just couples, but singles and friends, sharing reminiscences of significant moments of connection in our lives. It cost $20 ea. and was well worth it!
A big bouquet of kisses to all of you at Hawks Haven!

Thanks, Jen! We loved the pothole story, too. As for the “Indian Love Seder,” talk about imaginative! Wow! We’ve been eating great Indian food for days, between Silence’s veggie curry, dal, and saag paneer, and Huma’s very different dal, but now it’s all (sob!!!) gone. But on the bright side, there are still two samosas in the fridge (along with various chutneys and sauces), so perhaps Silence could be persuaded to make more Indian food to go with them!

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