Counting courtship and marriage, this guy and I have celebrated a half century of Valentine’s Days. During that time, I can’t remember a year when he didn’t buy me something on February 14, usually the traditional gift of candy or flowers. This year, though, I received a different kind of present.
I’m trying to lose that stubborn five pounds that has crept on and seems to want to hang around, so as much as I love a box of chocolates, especially a Whitman’s Sampler, I asked, please, no candy this year.
I’m too old for teddy bears, and besides, I have an attic full left over from the childhoods of three daughters. My husband knows not to bring home any more stuffed animals, cute though they may be.
I love cut flowers, especially roses, but a bouquet often lasts only a few days. I felt fifty years of spending Valentine’s Day together needed something a little more permanent than a dozen roses that would all too soon turn brown around the edges, droop, and die.
“I know what I want for Valentine’s Day this year,” I announced last week to my husband. (When you’ve been married as long as I have, you speak your mind.) I want a camellia bush planted in the left corner of the back yard near the storage building.
Today, Valentine’s Day, we went to Allen’s Nursery, where in Greenhouse #8, I found a camellia bush with a single red bloom. This afternoon, my husband planted it in the spot I designated.
I hope to look out my kitchen window for many years to come and see my Valentine’s Day camellia bush, maybe full of blooms, a reminder of once celebrating fifty years of February 14ths with this good man.