For Valentine’s Day, my wife and I are going to bake a homemade pizza. And to be truthful, we do not know how this will work out. But the tradition of a low-key Valentine’s Day is alive and well in our home.
Understand, we love Valentine’s Day as much as the next person. And over the years, we played a role in keeping the greeting card companies in business. But extravagant gifts, not so much.
Being as we are now on our 39th Valentine’s Day together, the holiday remains stubbornly low-key. For decades, we would watch a splotched VHS version of Disney’s “Lady and the Tramp” on a small television screen and order a budget-friendly delivery pizza.
As perennially broke college kids, you do the best you can with what you have. And as for money, again, the best gifts generally come in the simplest terms.
As the years passed along and circumstances improved, I learned bringing home a dozen red roses was more likely to put me in the doghouse than her arms. The cost of the crimson red sirens of love during high season hung over the holiday like a low-country fog, seeping into every crack and cranny of the holiday. A total backfire and one I learned not to repeat.
The funny thing about traveling side-by-side most of your life with the same person is no matter how the circumstances change, you essentially remain rooted in the humble ground where you began.
Mark that down as reason No. 1,382 that I love that woman so much.
I am confident we could win a million-dollar lottery, and she would remain grounded and unselfish. “Go find a way to help someone who needs a hand,” she would tell me. “Make a difference; we have a roof over our heads and shoes on our feet.”
One of our most prized Valentine’s Day decorations cost mere pennies to bring into our lives.
Created with a leftover red poster board and a can of black spray paint, we would not trade the artwork for anything from the Louvre Museum in Paris. The honest emotion and simplicity, the letters scrawled on the hand-trimmed heart-shaped board are priceless to us. Now faded and a veteran of nearly a dozen moves around the county, the artwork adorns our fireplace this year.
The letters are simple as if carved into a fencepost: LW + MW
As I said, this year, we will bake a deep-dish Chicago-style pizza from scratch. It’s a culinary experiment, and we have no idea how this will work out. But we do know, no matter what, the memories in our minds will last far beyond those of our tastebuds. Many times, you define success by the moments you create, not the outcome.
Valentine’s Day is for lovers. Jump in, make memories and never forget happiness does not always come with a receipt.