Happy Saint Valentine’s Day!
Celebrating the People Who Touch our Lives
Buona Festa di San Valentino! Yes, Saint Valentino was Italian. In the many stories I’ve heard and read, he is always associated with love. As a monk he joined young Christian couples in marriage, when it was forbidden by Roman law. His feast day is February 14 and much celebrated with hearts, sweets, flowers, and messages of love. It is my favorite day of winter!
As a little girl I fondly remember making handmade cards. Can you recall that first experience of learning to cut out those pink and red paper hearts? In grade school we exchanged Valentine cards with every student in the class and gave our teacher a special one. My third-grade teacher Mrs. Lyons, had the class decorate a huge cardboard box with crepe paper designs. We used it as our classroom mailbox and everyone deposited their cards in the days leading up to the party. On Valentine’s Day the students each took a turn as the ‘mailman’ delivering cards to each student’s desk. Our room mother supplied sweet treats of cupcakes with pink icing, cinnamon hearts and red licorice, which we all devoured while opening our Valentine cards. Mrs. Lyons opened her cards and made a big fuss over each and every one. I am sure you have a special Valentine’s Day memory tucked away in your heart.
My favorite cards were made by hand. In Italian, we say fatto di mano. When you take the time to make something by hand, a piece of your heart goes into the creation making the gift extra special. Valentine’s Day is not only for romantic relationships. For me it is an opportunity to celebrate everyone who gives my life meaning, and to let these people know I appreciate the important role they play in my journey through life.This includes children, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, friends and neighbors. So go ahead and lift someone’s spirit. Let them know how special they are to you!
Is there someone in your family who would love to receive a card from you this year? My Mom still loves sending and receiving Valentines. On a recent visit she showed me a collection of the cards I made for her through the years. She enjoys taking them out to admire and reading the special messages. When my children were young, they delighted in the heart-shaped sugar cookies I made for their lunches tucked in with a paper heart or a lunch box love note. As they grew older, they helped me to bake enough so they could share with friends at school. For my Dad I baked biscotti with dried cranberries, his favorite!
Valentine friends come in all shapes, sizes and ages. You never know where you may meet one! My favorite Valentine buddy was Mr. Jay Pratt a gardener friend I met in the grocery store when he was eighty years old. He introduced me to snowdrops, a white, dainty but hardy flowering bulb which blooms every year in February, even if they have to push through the snow! As a ritual every February, he would take me though his winter garden on a golf cart pointing out signs of spring and then digging a shovelful of budding white snowdrops for my yard. In return I baked him a plate of heart-shaped cookies. I fondly remember Jay each year when my snowdrops bloom. Who is your special Valentine buddy?
For inspiration look up some love quotes! Now get out the paper doilies, buttons, ribbon, scissors and glue and be a kid again! Make a list of all the people who make your life worth living. They will be delighted to find a handmade Valentine in the mail and to know they are appreciated and loved.
Con affetto, Lorraine
Buona Festa di San Valentino! - Happy Saint Valentine’s Day
Fatto di mano - Made by hand
Biscotti - Cookies
Con affetto - With affection