A trip earlier in the day to my folks saw Nana snipping the ends of a nice bunch of flowers followed by an attempt to squeeze them in to a vase far too small.
‘You got flowers I see. I’m still waiting on my bunch. I’d say the delivery man got lost, they always miss the turn’ , says I, tongue firmly in cheek.
‘They’re only Dunnes, ya know’ she retorts, as if it made a difference.
Meanwhile Grandad pipes up ‘Sure don’t they all come off that truck from Holland. I do see it parked up around the place’ as if all the cut flowers in Ireland come from the one lorry.
‘And chocolates?’ I gasp at the large box of Milk Tray on the table.
Now this lady doesn’t love Milk Tray (although I am partial to the orangey ones). My mind wanders, the imagination let loose. Maybe my man Denzel Washington will be waiting when I get home, looking all beardy and brave, a surprise Valentine visit, clutching a dozen red roses to his chest.
‘Are ya right? Get your gear. I’d like ya to come with me’ he’d say, or something to that effect. The words wouldn’t really matter that much.
‘Kids, I’m away off with Denzel. Don’t wait up and don’t forget to plug out the telly. Tell your father if he rings, I’m gone for a spin with Denzel. He’ll understand’.
I am shook from my surrealist day dream.
‘Do ya want white or black pudding with that?’, asks Grandad.
‘And you’re cooking her lunch too?’ I tease. He pulled out all the stops. Forever the romantic.
The bunch of daffodils, picked by The Middle, with a tender loving tug from the garden (and the neighbour’s garden), were my Valentine blossoms. The Youngest reckons it’s a crime against humanity that I did not get to celebrate Valentines, that I was hard done by. God help us when she gets older, she’ll be away off with the first spotty young fella who shows her any bit of interest.
With the blather of all things lovey dovey I pondered the origins of Valentine. Sources say he was one of the martyred saints of Rome. Valentinus wasn’t feeling the love of Emperor Claudius, when he attempted to convert him to Christianity and subsequently sent the heavies after him. Poor aul Saint Valentine was found marrying Christian couples on the sly, and worst of all gave the two fingers to the Emperor by refusing to give up his faith. Claudius ordered him to be clubbed, stoned and beheaded outside the Flaminian Gate in Rome around 269 AD. He was prolific, a busy man, and is now patron saint of love, lovers, plague, bee keepers, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages (wonder could he banish negative equity?) and young people. He is represented by birds (of the plumage variety) and roses (not of the Cadburys kind). So, was his last meal not just an ordinary meal, but an M&S Valentines meal, with the squidgy chocolate dessert and sparkly quelque chose? Did he receive any anonymous cards adorned with requisite teddy and hearts? And guess where his alleged relics were placed following exhumation from the catacombs in Italy ? Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin no less. Thus on any given 14th February all the bee keeping epileptic lovers can be found fainting from flagellation at the foot of his casket. At least they’re in the right spot.