What is the true meaning of Valentine’s Day? Is it the expression of love from one person to another or just a money grab by greeting card and candy companies? I'd like to believe it's the showing of love and emotions to someone we honestly care about.
I've been married almost twenty-four years. If my wife doesn't know by now that I love her, she's deaf, dumb and blind. Yet, every Valentine’s Day, I make an effort to do something special or at least buy a nice gift. As I work on weekends, it's quite difficult for us to make any plans and she's not the type to want to go out on Valentine’s Day, itself.
She would say it's too crowded, too expensive and too noisy to go out to dinner. This year, she's planning my birthday dinner on Valentine’s Day night, even though my birthday isn't until 19 February. Cards and gifts accepted, gratefully, from readers.
I'm not going to rehash the origins of Valentine’s Day; you can find that online. I will regal you with a couple of stories about my time as a manager, with a large national upscale chocolate company, whose logo is a nude woman on a horse.
We prepared weeks in advance for Valentine’s Day, setting up the work schedule, which included an early opening at 8 am to closing time at 9:30 pm. I worked like a dog, standing at a register most of the time, directing the flow of customers and keeping my employees focused on their tasks.
One of the most popular things we had was chocolate dipped strawberries. These sold, based upon weight; at $33 a pound, in 2001, they were expensive strawberries. We got an extra delivery of strawberries that morning from Lou at Grace's Marketplace, in New York City. Lou was a great fellow and did me the favour of dropping off our fruit on his way home.
We decided to go extra fancy that day, doing double and triple dipped strawberries. We'd start with a base of milk chocolate, adding a dip, again, in white chocolate and final dip in dark chocolate. Then we would drizzle white chocolate over top, in a random design. By the time we were done, they could cost $7-to-$10 each.
Men would start calling us weeks in advance wanting to place an order for these custom dipped strawberries, but refused to give us their credit card information so we could charge them on Valentine’s Day. Do you know how many orders we took that no paid for and picked up? That's why, the following year, we didn't fill an order unless it was pre-paid.
At the end of the Valentine’s Day rush, the staff would weigh out the leftovers and divide them up to take home. Everyone was happy after a long day of serving customers.
Every year, we had one husband come in with his own Valentine’s Day tin that he had purchased from us years ago. He’d fill it with two or three pounds of chocolate for his wife. It was still in great shape and had that wonderful scent of chocolates affixed to it.
I can't say what I got my wife this year for Valentine's Day, but I'm sure that she'll be happy. I left to her to get gifts for the girls, as she had more time this week than did I. Valentine's Day shouldn't be about getting "stuff"; it's showing someone how you feel about them.
I'll dedicate this column to all my girls, Marcy, Michelle, Melissa, Daisy and Scarlett. I can't forget Domino and Daphne; we think of you every day and miss you more. I love you all.
Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.
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