Way, Valentine's Day approacheth.
It's on again soon and this year the hint has been dropped early.
A while back, when I was young and stupid; I fell in love.
And I'd made a decision about it. Well, actually, the decision didn’t need making, it was written as fate always writes… all by itself.
On the Thursday I had delivered to her office seven red roses. One every hour. Seven separate deliveries. There was one for each month we'd been going out. Seven months of joy I knew not existed. It was the seventh message that gave my identity away. (She’d had two marriage proposals in the preceding year, so nothing was granted about who they were from).
On the Friday I had delivered eleven roses. She, the twelfth and most beautiful that ever existed made the even dozen.
Naturally, I wasn't all that stupid. If you're going to give flowers, as I've said for many years, always have them delivered to her office. Women, every woman, loves not just the flowers, but the effect it has on their workmates.
But I digress.
On the Saturday we went to the beach and then to dinner that night.
The Sunday was my “mystery day”. Now, back to advice for young and stupid men. If you’re going to plan something, specifically a romantic something, and you know it’s going to come off, then let her know so she can tell her workmates. Same principle as the roses. The twist is the guessing they can do in the days leading up to such an event.
So, back to Sunday, also, cunningly, Valentine’s Day 1988. Yeah, 20 years ago. Go figure. Anyway. I rock up in my Corolla, early, and take her to Massey’s at Neutral Bay. One of the few 24hr cafes in those days. We had breakfast there. She loved it. After all it was “our” café. Still is.
Then we went to the Koala Park at Pennant Hills. Don’t ask me why, but think cuddly, furry, cute little beasts. After that we went ice skating. Cool, eh? Ice Skating in summer in Australia, but it’s possible and we had heaps of fun falling into each other’s arms. Actually, I was a mean skater with my 1337 Cooper Ice Hockey Skates and she looked the part in her white figure skates, so falling into each other’s arms was more for enjoyment than safety.
After skating I dropped her off home to get ready for a dinner at a great restaurant (The Pavilion at Balmoral Beach). I’d booked a month ahead. I raced back home, my flat mate was all over me trying to get some dirt on what was happening. But I was tight lipped.
I arrived on time to pick her up, but naturally as women are want to do; she wasn’t ready. Good; I was counting on it. I had to sneak a bottle of verve cliquot into her fridge for later. It worked, she didn’t know I’d planted it.
The dinner started out really well but somewhere into the mains we got into a “discussion”. Central to the argument was her father’s position in the Church. I don’t remember the points but things started to go downhill. I was later to find out how close it was, but at the time we called a mutual truce and finished dinner smiling at each other across a dessert wine. After that a nice walk along the promenade and into the corolla for the trip back to her flat.
Once in the door “for coffee” and we’d settled down on the lounge she said;
“It’s been a wonderful day”
It was my cue, and to this day I am not sure who ultimately planned this, but I said “Well a wonderful day is one thing, would you like a wonderful life together? You know; with me?”
She burst into tears, tightly hugged me, and whispered, “Of course I would”.
My reply, through a craned neck and short of breath was “Is that a yes?”
We celebrated with a cool bottle of the French’s charming wine that “suddenly” appeared from her fridge.
Two days later, at her father’s place I asked for his daughter’s hand in marriage.
He didn’t say yes either. He said, rather triumphantly “I predicted it, I predicted it!”
We were married a year to the day of our first meeting, and, coincidently, her 30th birthday. I thought I was smart on insisting on the date of the wedding. Future wedding anniversaries and Wife’s birthdays on the same day. Heck, only one date to remember… how hard can that be? And as proof of the brains behind it it’s worked just fine all these years. Mind you, slip up once and I’ve done two events in one go and that wouldn’t be a pretty sight.
Unfortunately, as all good ideas are, there’s always something, On our 20th wedding anniversary we’ll also be celebrating her 50th birthday. I came across this fact about five years ago. Every time I think of it I think of banging my head against a wall. I think this is going to break me financially, and if not then it’ll be my ruin in other ways.
Five years after our engagement, she went into labour (Yes, on Valentine’s Day) and gave birth a day later to Caitlin.
This all came back to me last year, on the eve of Valentine’s day, because SWMBO and recounted the story to the children over dinner.
I was once young and stupid, now I am not so young anymore. I had nothing planned for Valentines day last year, no flowers, no card, no bottle of verve cliquot, no dinner, no breakfast or even lunch at Massey’s, nothing, zip, bugger all.
It's happened again this year.
Two weeks early.
I can take a hint.
So, fella's get in early.
Thank God for senility... now I don't feel so silly any more.