Who needs a red rose?

Is it just another Hallmark holiday?

Maybe to some.

I’ve heard the annual laments about feeling lonely on Valentine’s Day if your not in a romantic relationship.

I get it.

But my whining’s been redirected to the overly inflated importance of the red rose.

“What do ‘ya mean you’re out of the red ones, and the yellow are 75 bucks delivered?”

I used to hear that question repeatedly from male shoppers every Valentine’s week as I’d try to convince them that a perky pink azalea was a better choice for both price and longevity.

I was working in a busy, local florist shop at the time.

Eventually I’d wear each shopper down and they’d go ahead and order the plant. But they were never happy.

A decade later my late husband Richard joined in the fun and placed an order to send me red roses for our first Valentine’s Day.

We’d met just a month earlier and he was disappointed that he was going to be away on business for the holiday.

When the big day arrived, I received a Victorian lace trimmed card in the mail along with a phone call and a question.

“Did you like your special delivery?”

“Absolutely,” I replied.

But Richard seemed to hint of something more showing up in my apartment lobby.

It never did.

Though a week later, with Richard still away, one of his co-workers called me.

“Please don’t tell him, but the florist has been calling after repeated attempts to deliver at the wrong address. It was supposed to be a big surprise.”

I told her to tell the florist to just send them to my office. And the weary bouquet was finally delivered.

These days I still tend to avoid red roses.

I prefer to keep my holiday rituals simple, by mailing cards and candy hearts to those I love.

But this year I’ll also be admiring old Valentines of those no longer with me, but who remain forever in my heart.

Maybe that’s what the holiday’s all about.

Or should be.


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