Tag Archive for: Valentine’s Day

Love and Humor is in the Words

Love and Humor is in the Words
by Debra H. Goldstein

Valentine’s Day and love is in the air. Cards and
chocolates are flying off the shelves; flowers are being delivered. Here and
there, on bent knee with ring in hand, there are even a few proposals of
marriage being offered and accepted. It’s nice, but sometimes, there’s fun to
be had at the expense of “love.” That’s exactly what I do in my upcoming Sarah
Blair book, Five Belles Too Many.


I will admit that my NY editor loved the book and I giggle
just thinking about different things in it. The premise of a reality show where
the prize is a perfect wedding is simple. The complications are that the story
is set in fictional Wheaton, Alabama and the wedding is being dubbed the
perfect Southern wedding. Although different vendors are vying to be chosen for
their invitations, flowers, food, and venue, the conflict comes from the


There are five finalist couples, who each represent a
different segment of the population or

demographic. Being Alabama, there must
be a couple who pull for Alabama and another who are die-hard Auburn fans.
Mixing things up also requires a pure as the land couple (think Beverly
Hillbillys) and one with a more goth edginess. The fifth couple is the charmer,
though. That couple is Sarah Blair’s sixty plus mother, Maybelle, and her
friend, George, who is a decade older than Maybelle. If you’ve read earlier
Sarah Blair books, particularly Two Bites Too Many,
you know Maybelle is feisty and well able to care for herself; but, all belles
in the competition must have a chaperone.


That’s where Sarah come in. It seems silly to have a sixty
plus bride-to-be with two grown daughters chaperoned, but rules are rules. So,
twenty-eight-year-old Sarah is drafted as her mother’s chaperone. And that’s
where the fun and humor begin.


Although I may be prejudiced, Five Belles Too Many
was the most fun to write and one I think will keep you chuckling while also
enjoying the more serious plotline. Five Belles Too Many
will be published in June 2022 but is already available for pre-order.
One of the reasons I think I enjoyed delving into the reality show world was
that years ago, I was a Jeopardy contestant (and no, I didn’t have a streak
like Amy’s). Were you ever on a reality show?

Love and Presidents are in the Air

by Paula Gail Benson

year, the two mid-February holidays–Valentine’s Day and Presidents’
Day–happen to border a long celebratory weekend. As part of the “love fest,” I’ve
been encouraging folks to consider a recent anthology to which I contributed.

Love in the Lowcountry features stories
that take place during the winter holidays, from Thanksgiving through New Year’s
Day, but the location of each story, Charleston, S. C., is well worth a virtual
vacation during any time of the year. The anthology includes stories from
experienced as well as debut authors, some sweet and others for mature
audiences, some present day while others take place in historical periods. My
story, “Wisest, Swiftest, Kindest,” allows two English graduate students to
time travel back to Charleston of 1936 to meet DuBose and Dorothy Heyward at the
new Dock Street Theater following the year that Porgy and Bess failed on Broadway. Some of the stories have paranormal
elements. All provide delightful couples finding their own happy endings.

you would like to do a little combination reading for the holidays, why not
check out some books about Presidential love stories? Here are a few you might want
to consider:

Mount Vernon Love Story (2002), first
issued as Aspire to the Heavens
(1969), was Mary Higgins Clark’s first novel. It was inspired by research she conducted for a radio program about George and Martha Washington’s

My Dearest Friend: the Letters of Abigail
and John Adams

(Harvard University Press, 2010) features correspondence from forty years
between the second President and his wife.

Stone’s The President’s Lady (1996)
and Patricia Brady’s A Being So Gentle
(2011) survey the romance between Rachel and Andrew Jackson.

Courting Mr. Lincoln (2019) is Louis
Bayard’s novel told in alternating voices by Mary Todd and Lincoln’s roommate Joshua
Speed to reveal the complex, often misunderstood relationship between the
President and his wife.

Miller’s Ellen and Edith (2014)
explores the lives of Woodrow Wilson’s wives and their influence on the
President and the country.

George and Barbara Bush: A Great American
Love Story

by Ellie LeBlond Sosa (the President and Mrs. Bush’s granddaughter) and Kelly
Anne Chase, with a Foreward by President George W. Bush, tells about the seventy-seven
year love story between the 41st President and his beautiful bride.

What are you reading for the Valentine’s Day/Presidents’ Day weekend?

It Was A Sign

by Sparkle Abbey

So last
week, we were on our way to work and of course that means a trip through the
Starbucks drive-thru. Our Starbucks is very popular, especially in the
mornings and on the weekends. It’s not unusual for there to be a five or six
car wait before you even reach the speaker to place your order. Why not go
inside, you ask? Well, like most of the U.S., 
we’ve been hit with bone-chilling
subzero weather and over ten inches of snow. So regardless of the line, you don’t get out of your vehicle
unless you have to.

On this day,
the drive-thru was almost deserted. There were only three cars in front of us.
That’s a good thing, right? The lack of customers certainly 
didn’t have
anything to do with icy roads, a wind-chill of twenty below, or the fact that
it was after 8:00 am and the morning rush had already passed though. It was a
sign to proceed! So we did.

Just one example of our many Starbucks stops 
In what felt
like seconds, but was probably more like five minutes, it was our turn to order
our usual: grande non-fat no water chai, and a grande skinny hazelnut latte.
The only problem was that the driver’s window 
wouldn’t roll down. It was frozen
shut. There was no way that window was moving.

You see
where this is going.

Since there
were cars behind us, keeping us from backing out and a making a clean getaway,
we had only one choice—open the door to place the order. We looked rather silly, and felt
a little foolish. And while we were hoping no one was paying attention to us,
weren’t that lucky. We caught the driver behind us was smiling at us. Our barista also got a good chuckle at our predicament and casually mentioned we weren’t the first customer with a frozen window.

Within a few
minutes it was our turn to pay. Once again, we opened the door, allowing the
freezing wind to slap us around for a few seconds and to steal our breath. As
we reached for a Starbucks card to pay, the barista informed us there was no need-
our drinks had
already been paid for. Turned out the driver in the car before us felt so bad
about our window, he paid for our drinks! A true random act of kindness. It was
completely unexpected and it totally made our day.

February 9th
– 15th  is Random Act of Kindness week. The idea is to cheer up,
inspire, or help a stranger. There are many simple acts you can do: a
smile, let someone cut in front of you in line at the grocery store, or
pay for someone’s drink at your favorite coffee shop. Most acts of kindness
are free, you don’t have to spend money to “pay it forward.”

If you’re lacking
inspiration and need some “kindness” ideas, check out the Random
Acts of Kindness
 website. If you’re social media savvy, take part in
helping #RAKWeek2015 trend by flooding your social media platforms with
kindness. Look for us as we’ll be taking part in the fun.
What about
you? Have you initiated a random act of kindness? Have you ever been the recipient
of an act of kindness? Tell us about it! You never know who may read your comment
and feel inspired by you!

Starbucks story is mostly true. It happened to only one of us. We’ll let you
guess which one.

One last shout out! If you’re in the Ames area this week, we’ll be at the grand opening of Treats on a Leash for a book signing from 10:00 am- noon. Stop by and say hi! Click here for more details!

Undying Love in Lottawatah

Love is in the air? Brianna’s not so sure. Celebrate Valentine’s Day with the psychic from Lottawatah. Read an excerpt from UNDYING LOVE IN LOTTAWATAH
Chapter 1
The first valentine I ever received
was from Charlie Riggins in first grade. It read, and I can still quote it in
its entirety. “Roses are red, Violets are blue, I don’t smell, but you
sure do.”

Needless to say the romance was over.
My only regret was that I had given him my genuine fake three dollar bill that
my great-uncle Sy had given me for Christmas that year. Needless to say I wasn’t
too fond of Sy either since even at the age of six, I knew there weren’t any
three dollar bills in circulation.

Anyway, my Momma always told me that
Valentine’s Day was a made-up Hallmark holiday and I shouldn’t get swept up in
the commercialization, yadda, yadda, yadda. To be honest, I often tuned out
when my mother would get on her high horse about these issues. And let’s be
honest, the woman absolutely expected a card and an increasingly expensive
present when the made-up holiday of Mother’s Day popped up every May.

But I was trying to tamp down my
expectations about Valentine’s Day and my main squeeze, Deputy Cooper Jackson.
He’s not what I would call gift-imaginative. My Christmas present had been a
bottle of J Lo’s Miami Glow perfume and I wasn’t sure what the message was
since I immediately remembered that Charlie Riggins had made a comment about my
smell too. Besides this cologne was a mixture of Pink Grapefruit, Coconut
Water, Passion Fruit, Heliotrope, Sheer Amber, Crystal Musk, Vanilla Orchid and
Blonde Woods, so essentially I was going to smell like a fruit bowl. His other
gift was a new toaster oven because he likes English muffins in the morning and
my toaster has two settings, light and burnt.

So like I said, I didn’t have high
hopes for Cupid’s Day. And yet, it was less the pink frilly card that had me
worried and more the deadline I had set for myself., After six months, I was
still hanging around Lottawatah, Oklahoma, and it was time for me to figure out
if I was staying or firing up Matilda, my motor home, and hitting the high
road. I thought I’d make a decision by the first of the new year, but then had
resolutely, pun intended, decided that Valentine’s Day was the drop-dead
deadline for the move it or lose it decision.

I was still muddling over the do I or
don’t I question, when a quick glance at the clock almost made the decision for
me. If I was late for my job at Pearl’s Soak & Spin one more time, I’d be
unemployed and would almost certainly have to hit the road in search of gas and
food money. Lottawatah’s economy, if it ever had one, had crashed long before
the rest of the nation. Jobs, as Miss Pearl had reminded me, didn’t grow on
trees. Although logging wasn’t out of the question if push came to shove.

I grabbed my coat and dug my hands in
the pockets for my gloves, and came up empty. I frantically looked around what
is lovingly called the living room in Matilda (also known as the dining room,
kitchen, and driver’s seat), when I remembered that I’d left them the previous
night at Cooper’s apartment.

Mutt Jeffrey, the gravel-voiced host
of the morning drive show, had already cheerfully informed me that it was going
to be “downright cold” today. Mutt is happiest when the weather is at
its worst. I had to walk a mile into town to get to the Soak & Spin, and
wasn’t looking forward to frozen fingers when I remembered an old pair of
gloves that had belonged to my Great Aunt MaryEllen. They’d been passed down to
my grandmother, MaryEllen’s younger sister. I don’t have many memories of my
grandmother, except she had a gap between her two front teeth and could whistle
loud enough with them to summon a cab from the next county. I’d tossed most of
the old clothes, keeping only a few mementos in an old shoe box. I’d stored the
chocolate brown, elbow-length cashmere gloves in Matilda’s glove compartment. I
had dreams of someday owning a dark mink coat to wear with them.

I pulled them on, flung open the door,
and stepped out into the frigid Oklahoma air. A gust of wind nearly blew me

“Where’s your hat? Your brain’s
gonna freeze.”

I did a full 360 before I caught a
glimpse of her. At first I thought it was Grandma, but ghosts usually appear as
they did at death. Which is why wearing good clothes when you kick the bucket
is always a plus. No this wasn’t Grandma, although she had the same gap-toothed
smile. Guess orthodontia wasn’t a big priority during the Great Depression era,
judging the date from the clothes. This was a woman about 60, wearing a
brown-checked coat, felt cloche hat, and I’m pretty sure, a pair of brown
cashmere gloves.

Crap. Hello ghost of Great Aunt
MaryEllen. She’d died in the early ’80s, hit by a cab while crossing the

“Don’t be getting any dirt on
those gloves. They’re genuine cashmere, you know. Harry Grady brought them to
me from the French Quarter in New Orleans.”

Ghosts don’t seem to be affected by
the cold. MaryEllen was leaning casually against Matilda, looking like she had
all the time in the world for a chat.

“Think you could walk with me.”
I motioned for her to follow. “I’ve got to get to work and I’m betting you
have something you need to tell me.”

Don’t they all? Why on earth, pardon
the pun, was Great Aunt MaryEllen, dead more than 30 years, picking a freezing
winter day, with me late for work, to show up?

My name is Brianna Sullivan. I’m a
psychic. My limited talents include communicating with ghosts, finding lost
objects and people, and an occasional success with water well witching. I’d
never planned on making a career of this woo woo stuff, but a girl’s gotta eat.


Brianna Sullivan Mysteries – e-book series
I Try Not to Drive Past CemeteriesKindleNookSmashwords
The Dog Days of Summer in Lottawatah KindleNookSmashwords
The Holiday Spirit(s) of LottawatahKindleNookSmashwords
Undying Love in Lottawatah- KindleNookSmashwords
A Haunting in Lottawatah – Kindle – NookSmashwords
Lottawatah Twister – KindleNookSmashwords
Missing in Lottawatah – KindleNookSmashwords
Good Grief in Lottawatah – KindleNookSmashwords
Summer Lightning in Lottawatah – Kindle NookSmashwords

The Ghosts of Lottawatah – trade paperback collection of the Brianna e-books
Book 1 I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries (includes the first four Brianna e-books)
Book 2 – A Haunting in Lottawatah (includes the 5th, 6th, and 7th Brianna e-books)

Love Lessons – KindleNookSmashwords

V-Day is Upon Us

And You Should Pass the Chocolate
By Bethany Maines

The ads for that certain holiday have started already. You know the pink, frilly, and frequently scantily clad ads I’m referring to. They also come in diamond and/or chocolate covered versions, but they all say pretty much the same thing: buy, buy, buy and if you don’t buy, or someone isn’t buying for you, then your life sucks. Number one, I generally have a problem with ads that try to make me feel bad about myself. And number two, I think it’s possible that I was born with a genetic disorder referred to as Lowdramatitis. For the record, problem number three is that I think it’s rude to show someone chocolate without instantly providing some.

Anyway, back to my genetic disorder. People suffering from Lowdramatitis have a tendency to say things like “Seriously?” during key moments in dramatic films, snort loudly at just about anything teenagers say, and exist in a state of incomprehension during a friend’s monologue about their dating life. (Apparently, “So… you can’t just call him?” is never an appropriate question.)

So every year, as the hype of Valentine’s Day rolls around, I also find myself rolling my eyes. Which is why I thought for years that I suffered from Lowromantitis. I thought my impatience with the stupidity of others was an indication that I didn’t like romance. This, my friends, is not true. I like romance. I like it when my guy brings me flowers and says sweet things and what-not. I quite enjoy the what-not. What I don’t like is when the girl trips in a horror movie simply because someone wanted to put in that piece of music where the string section goes eeeeee-eee-eeeeeeeeee. I just hate inconsistent character development, if nothing else.

Along that same topic, I recently read a blog about the ratings system for Romance novels. (If you’re dying to know… It’s Time to Revamp our Sensuality Ratings) It was an interesting glimpse into a genre that I rarely read, and that hinted at the genre politics boiling away over there in the Romance section. Which is always funny when you write for another genre and not in the least bit funny when you do. But it got me to thinking that while I rarely read romance and I get seriously impatient with adult characters that act with all the impulsivity and sanity of teenagers (Yes, Three Weissmans of Westport, I’m looking at you), and I’m not sure I want to read books that need a rating system on a regular basis, I really do prefer books that have an element of romance in them. Which is probably why I write genre benders that mix in a little mystery, action, and romance all at the same time. I could try to explain why I added humor to the mix, but we’d probably be here all night and someone would have to call Freud. What they would call him, I don’t know, but they could call him.

Stupid Cupid

By Ellen Byerrum

First of all, let me thank you for inviting me on The Stiletto Gang today. I’m thrilled to be among such great writers. And now. . .

Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays. Love it or hate it. I have generally hated it. First, my birthday is far too close to Cupid’s Day for comfort, so I never received anything special for hearts and flowers day. If anyone thought about it, it was, “yeah, this is for your birthday, and. . . uh, yeah, Valentine’s Day.” Or there were the guys who went on a rant: “It’s just a stupid Hallmark-manufactured holiday and I refuse to take part in crass commercialism. I mean seriously, flowers, candy. What’s the point?”

I guess the point was “good bye, Joe.”

Before I met my husband, Bob, my Valentine’s Day traditionally featured Cupid sticking out his tongue, laughing hysterically, mocking me, flying upside down, smacking into walls, shooting arrows, and missing. Or, hitting me in the you-know-what. Before Bob, I had my more than my fair share of romantic disasters that happened on Valentine’s Day. Including, but not limited to, two regrettable boyfriends who married other people on the 14th day of the second month of the year. Different years, but still.

My history is unfortunate for Lacey Smithsonian, the heroine of my Crime of Fashion novels. Because I like to share the misery. And sometimes, Lacey has the advantage—or disadvantage—of my experience. The latest book in my series, Shot Through Velvet, takes place in February and ends on Valentine’s Day. As we all know, the course of true love never runs smooth, so I’ve given Lacey a major case of Valentine jitters.

Her past history has Lacey convinced that that this Valentine’s Day will be another disaster. She wants to ignore the whole thing, but her sexy boyfriend Vic Donovan, has other ideas. But Lacey doesn’t have time to worry about hearts and flowers when a strange and colorful murder at a dying velvet factory in Southern Virginia takes her attention. Lacey dodges Cupid’s yearly disaster attack while delving into a murder where the victim has been dyed blue.

While she interviews and follows up on possible suspects at the factory, she also dances around an invitation to attend a Valentine’s party given by Donovan’s mother. The race is on to see whether the grim reaper or Cupid captures Lacey this February.

As for me, my luck changed when I came home one night from a long trip and found my husband had chilled champagne and spread a dozen red roses on my pillow. My heart danced a jig. And it wasn’t even Valentine’s Day.

Do you have any Valentine’s Day stories to share?

Ellen Byerrum is a Washington, D.C., news reporter, novelist and playwright. She also holds a Virginia private investigator’s registration. Her bestselling Crime of Fashion mysteries star a savvy, stylish sleuth: Lacey Smithsonian, a reluctant fashion reporter in Washington D.C., “The City Fashion Forgot.”

Modern Romance

by Susan McBride

Ah, February, the month of love! And not only because the 14th is Valentine’s Day–on which I’ll be talking about romantic reads on “Great Day St. Louis”–but Ed’s and my third anniversary is February 24. Seems like yesterday that we met though it was nearly six years ago. Funny how it happened, too. When I look back, I think of how many dominoes had to line up and fall before the moment we were introduced.

If I hadn’t been named a 2005 St. Louis Magazine “top single”…if Ed’s then co-worker, Jeremy, hadn’t been selected as well…if I hadn’t become friends with Jeremy at the photo shoot…if Ed hadn’t decided to show up at the magazine’s party at the Contemporary Art Museum…if I hadn’t been talking to Jeremy when Ed appeared…if he hadn’t contacted me through the magazine after I lost his card…if we hadn’t enjoyed each other’s company at a hockey game the next week…well, you get my drift.

I like to think that our grandmothers up in heaven plotted the whole thing. I can imagine mine saying, “For goodness’ sake, she’s over 40. If she doesn’t find someone soon, she’s going to be too danged independent to ever want to share her life with anyone but her cats.” And Ed’s grandma responding, “Well, he’s finally got his doctorate and has a job with a start-up company, but he needs to find someone who’s a bit pushy and who can convince him not to wear that dreadful Fred Flintstone T-shirt to work.”

Then there was the age factor, my being nine years older. Which didn’t really matter to me or to Ed (but I know it worried his mom in the beginning!). The most important concerns I had were these: could we communicate despite the fact that I’m Captain Kirk and he’s Spock; and is our sense of humor on the same plane, or maybe I should make that “planet”? Luckily, the answers were “yes” and “yes.”

I knew Ed was special very soon after we began dating. I’d never felt that “rightness” with anyone before. Never. I’d heard friends say, “You’ll know when you find him,” and I’d think, “But how?” It wasn’t long before I realized they were spot on. Within three months, I was sure Ed was The One. I knew it in my heart and in my gut. Indeed, it was on Valentine’s Day in 2006 that I decided I’d ask him point-blank if we were on the same page. I had to be certain we were going somewhere (and I don’t mean away for the weekend). Yep, I’d become very direct in my middle-age. I just couldn’t let myself go on believing “this is it,” if he wasn’t feeling it, too. When I told my mother what I’d done, basically giving Ed an ultimatum, she squawked, “Well, there goes that relationship! You probably just sent him running for the hills!”

But Ed showed up at my condo after work that night with a dozen red roses and said, “You are the one.”

We’ve been through a lot since (and before) our wedding, and I can’t imagine having lived even a minute of those days without Ed in my life. If anything, I love him more now than on the day we said, “I do.” I feel incredibly fortunate that all those dominoes fell into place at precisely the right moment. Chalk it up to fate or the Powers that Be or even two heavenly matchmaking grandmothers. Whoever’s responsible, thank you.

Anyone else want to share their tale of “How We Met?” I’d love to hear!
P.S. Welcome to Maria Geraci, the newest member of the Stiletto Gang! I recently read Maria’s latest, THE BOYFRIEND OF THE MONTH CLUB, and loved it. What a perfect Valentine’s Day book!

Your Favorite Valentine

by Evelyn David

The first valentine I ever received was from Charlie Riggins in first grade. It read, and I can still quote it in its entirety. “Roses are red, Violets are blue, I don’t smell, but you sure do.– Brianna Sullivan in Undying Love in Lottawatah

Do you remember your first Valentine’s Day card or gift?

Like Brianna, my first Valentine’s Day gift was in first grade. The teacher let all the kids exchange tiny Valentines. One special little boy gave me a ring that came from a gum ball machine. The fake stone separated from the setting before the day was over. Kind of like the budding romance. Another boy offered the actual gum ball and my affections shifted.

For centuries the idea of romantic love has been celebrated on Valentine’s Day. In the Middle Ages this Saint’s day was considered the optimum day to choose a lifetime mate. Today it is celebrated by the giving of cards, candy, and gifts.

Undying Love in Lottawatah is the fourth book in the Brianna Sullivan Mysteries ebook series. A novella-length story, Undying Love in Lottawatah continues the saga of psychic Brianna Sullivan who planned to travel the country in her motor home, but instead unexpectedly ended up parking her home on wheels in a small Oklahoma town. In Undying Love in Lottawatah, as Valentine’s Day approaches, Brianna is hired by the local police to help solve an arson/murder case. She’s also got family problems. The ghost of her great aunt keeps pressing Brianna to find out what happened to Harry, her long lost love. In her spare time the reluctant psychic tries to figure out her own love life and her relationship with Detective Cooper Jackson. Is he reason enough to stay in Lottawatah?

Do you send Valentine’s Day cards? Brianna has mixed feelings on the matter.

Anyway, my Momma always told me that Valentine’s Day was a made-up Hallmark holiday and I shouldn’t get swept up in the commercialization, yadda, yadda, yadda. To be honest, I often tuned out when my mother would get on her high horse about these issues. And let’s be honest, the woman absolutely expected a card and an increasingly expensive present when the made-up holiday of Mother’s Day popped up every May.– Brianna Sullivan in Undying Love in Lottawatah


Brianna Sullivan Mysteries – e-book series

I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries
The Dog Days of Summer in Lottawatah
The Holiday Spirit(s) of Lottawatah
Undying Love in Lottawatah

The Sullivan Investigation Series

Murder Drops the Ball (Spring 2011)
Murder Takes the Cake
Murder Off the Books
Riley Come Home (short story)

Valentine’s Day Blues

I think Valentine’s Day is kind of a wimpy holiday. For a lot of people, it’s an afterthought. For the others? The ones with great expectations of romantic gestures and heartfelt expressions of undying devotion? Well, the results are usually a disappointment.

By the way, if you haven’t already figured it out, the author Evelyn David is really two people. The smart, witty posts on Mondays are written by the Northern Evelyn. The “what the heck does that have to do with writing” posts that show up on Thursdays are done by me – the Southern Evelyn.

Today, in between annoying coal miners, legislators, and federal regulators, all within the same eight hours (a personal best for me at my day job), I’ve been worrying about this blog. It should be easy for me to write 600 words on anything. Normally, I can’t even write the opening to a scene in less than 300. But today (which is yesterday if you’re reading this) my mind was scattered. Gathering any blogging ideas was much akin to herding cats (I know, I know, that phrase has been overused, but it’s still a favorite of mine and I intend to use it until I find another that means chasing down elusive, furry things that bite and scratch when you finally nab them.) I drafted several blogs – one on lying before congressional committees (don’t go before them and don’t lie) and one on the powers of the number 3 (don’t ask, I was digging deep for that one).

Valentine’s Day was an obvious topic choice. But what to say that hasn’t been said before? I could discuss the impossible search for a perfect card and color coordinated envelope (a real feat if you shop in a super store.) Ever notice how many people don’t take the envelope that the card gods intended to go with a particular card? What’s with that? By the time I start looking, the remaining cards and envelopes don’t match up – not even in size. Sometimes I’m choosing the card not for the design or sentiment inside; I’m picking it because it fits in the one remaining uncrumpled envelope.

And then there’s the chocolate . . . . I’ve always thought that chocolate was an excellent gift choice on Valentine’s Day – but please don’t give me those heart shaped boxes of chocolate wrapped in red foil and ribbon. For me eating the chocolate in those boxes is a scavenger hunt with some nasty surprises. I don’t like nuts. I don’t like coconut. I’m not crazy about caramel or hidden cherries. My favorites are those pieces that taste the most like a plain 3 Musketeers’ candy bar.

When I was younger, my brother always parked himself by my side when I opened the boxes of Valentine’s candy. One tiny test bite and I was usually handing off the offensive piece to him – who, like the Mikey of cereal commercials, would literally eat any kind of candy. One time I made the old fashioned fudge – the cooked kind with butter, salt, cocoa and sugar. I got some measurement wrong. The stuff set up harder than a brick and I literally used a dishtowel-wrapped hammer to break it into pieces. It was also lacking in sugar. I couldn’t eat it. My parents couldn’t eat it. It took my brother a couple of months, but he finally finished off the whole batch. He was a real trooper! Thinking of it – I probably owe him some money for dental bills.

Before leaving work, I took an informal survey of the other ladies in the office. What were they expecting to get for Valentine’s Day? Surprisingly, the answer was much the same. To avoid a lot of hassle and hurtful recriminations, they now bought their own gifts and picked out exactly what they wanted. Their husbands and significant others reimbursed them later for the costs.

I think I’ll do the same. Anyone care for a Klondike ice cream bar with a red ribbon?

Maybe, I’ll just skip the ribbon.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Evelyn David