Valentine's Day marks wedded bliss

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Just when you thought it was safe to celebrate Valentine's Day, along come opponents of the romantic tradition who tell us it's a bad thing.

They say it makes single people feel sad and degrades them.

In some cities -- New York and San Francisco included -- there's a new alternative to Valentine's Day. It's called "Quirkyalone Day" and is geared toward those who want to celebrate their single lives.

In Chicago, some bars celebrated the holiday with anti-Valentine's Day parties complete with black balloons.

In Syracuse, N.Y., a radio station promoted a Valentine's Day contest offering a free divorce to the lucky couple.

It's enough to prompt even Cupid to seek out some serious counseling.

My 9-year-old wouldn't understand such feelings of animosity toward Valentine's Day.

As with other third-graders, Bailey sees the holiday as one big class party. Life is good when you can end the school day on a sugar high.

Giving and receiving Valentine's Day cards is also a plus, she would tell you.

Handing out black balloons wouldn't be much of a treat for schoolchildren.

Historians tell us that the English celebrated Valentine's Day as early as the 1400s.

In Britain and Italy, some unmarried women get up before sunrise on the romantic holiday. They stand by a window watching for a man to pass. According to such superstition, a woman will marry the first man she sees or someone who looks like that man.

Of course, those who don't succeed in finding a husband may want to attend anti-Valentine's Day parties the next year.

At any rate, I've always liked Valentine's Day. I like all the chocolate candy, the classroom parties and the sentimental greeting cards.

My wife loves the holiday too. And no wonder. For 25 years, it's been our anniversary.

That makes Valentine's Day more than just a greeting-card, pass-out-the-candy holiday to us. Actually, Joni doesn't even like chocolate.

In today's divorce-ready society, a quarter-century of marriage seems like a lifetime.

But in reality it's amazing how quickly the years speed by.

I'm convinced some of that has to do with parenting. The older our children get, the more quickly life rushes past us.

Weekends are a scheduling nightmare. We spend our weekends shuttling our daughters to their various activities. We're tired by the time Monday rolls around.

Still, a good marriage never gets old.

And having your anniversary on Valentine's Day isn't a bad thing either.

For one thing, Hallmark won't let you forget your celebration.

If you do forget, the only celebration will be your funeral. And Hallmark, I'm sure, will be glad to provide a suitable greeting card for that too.

But all in all, I'm not ready for my own funeral.

Thankfully, Joni and I have found wedded bliss. That's particularly a good thing when your last name is Bliss.

You don't want to disappoint Cupid.

After a quarter-century of marriage and a few "I'm sorry" flower arrangements, we're feeling good about the next 25 years.

We've no need for black balloons and sour faces. This is one holiday that always seems rosy to us.

Mark Bliss is a staff writer for the Southeast Missourian.

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