Wednesday, February 18, 2009


On Saturday we were invited to a lovely tea party to celebrate Valentine’s Day at our friends the Turners. Jennica and her daughter Rya played hostesses to several little girls all glammed up and ready to partake in girly activity. Here they are looking like they are waiting for the Mad Hatter, who must have been off with the White Rabbit somewhere, probably attending the Queen. They all waited patiently and with the best of manners for tea to be served.
Decorated cakes and cookies were ravenously eaten, sweet teas sipped and fresh strawberries delicately nibbled. Once all the little princesses appetites were sated, they waved their magic wands and the remnants of the party were miraculously swept away to make way for a heart-shaped frame craft. (the “magic” coming in the form of Mamas madly cleaning up after their princesses…oh, so that’s where the madness comes in). We then retired to the backyard and play area to blow some bubbles where I discovered my two year old can quite expertly climb a ladder all by herself…yikes, good to know.
A wonderful time was had by all and we are grateful to Jennica and Rya for their hospitality and thoughtfulness.
After arriving home I opened the back door to the mini van and this was the picture I was presented with; a little girl looking the perfect picture of ‘princess-ness’…wrapped in a pick furry coat, dress ruffles peaking out and her head topped with a silver tiara. A bag of goodies in her lap, a wand in one hand, a sucker in the other and a big smile on her face. She just seemed to be saying. ‘Ain’t America grand Mama?’
And there were still presents from the Mama as well! You just can’t beat a holiday celebrating love, even though poor St. Valentine didn’t quite have the best of times on his day, him being a martyr and all. Actually, did you know that there isn’t just one Saint Valentine and that there are more than one Valentine’s Days? There were several early Christian martyrs named thus. Finally, in 1969, the Catholic Church formally recognized eleven Valentine’s Days! The Valentine, or rather, Valentines, honored on February 14th are Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni. The one from Rome was a priest who suffered his martyrdom in about AD 269. His pieces reside in a church in Rome, AND one in Dublin, Ireland….oh dear.
Valentine of Terni was a bishop in about AD 197 and was said to have been killed during the persecution of Emperor Aurelian. Parts of him are in Rome and Terni.
It is unclear as to when romance began being associated with these guys and their feast day. There is mention of Valentine’s Day in Hamlet by William Shakespeare, but no clear history of the holiday’s evolvement into the giving of love letters could be found. In the mid-nineteenth century the holiday was reinvented through the exchange of letters and cards expressing friendship and love. No one really knows why the holiday suddenly took off in this way, but various stories abound, again, non of which could be verified. Possibly, it was some wily marketing executive wanting to unload an overstock of stationary. Or perhaps a group of young ladies with too much time on their hands, set to making fancy cards expressing their shy feelings towards a secret crush. Though no one seems to know for sure, what does seem to be true is that much speculation and down right falsehoods have sprung up around Valentine’s Day. Typical of love, isn’t it?
What I remember from my own childhood was the fun I had making the container that would hold my Valentine’s from an old shoe box. Personally, I found this to be the best part of the day. At right is what I remember the cards I used to receive looking like. Now of course most of the boxed cards children have to choose from have the images of pop and tv stars on them. This year we made ours, I just couldn’t bring myself to buy yet another High School Musical anything.
Here I leave you with the ruefully mentioned Valentine's Day spoken by Ophelia in Hamlet (1600-1601):
To-morrow is Saint Valentine's day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.
Then up he rose, and donn'd his clothes,
And dupp'd the chamber-door;
Let in the maid, that out a maid Never departed more.
(William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 5)

©KKW 2009

1 comment:

Debby said...

Kim...I tagged you for a little photo game. Hop over to my blog for details.