For about five years I worked as a floral designer in a wonderful shop in Greece, NY. I loved it all - the colors, the scents, the reasons people came in, the challenge of design, the hard work, the blessed air of the cooler on a hot summer day, the teamwork into the wee hours to get the holiday orders ready. There's real comraderie in a florist shop around just about any holiday.
Valentine's Day was the very busiest. Because it's a single day and not a season like Christmas or Easter, everyone wants her/his order delivered on that single day. And everyone wanted red roses, even if they ran in 10 minutes before closing because they didn't think of their sweetie until then. My birthday was a blur of arrangements, harried customers, and tired feet. I still think back fondly on those years, even though they were hard work, and miss those people every time I arrange fresh flowers in my house.
Still, my life moved on to higher education, to divorce and relocation to California, and to a new and fulfilling life with My Beloved. Over the years, he and I have discovered that it's better to celebrate my Valentine birthday at home. Restaurants are always slammed on Valentine's Day, just like florists, so they are often noisy and overcrowded, and the food suffers. It all seems to have the strained air of New Year's Eve, where everyone is determined to have a good time, whether they like it or not. Better to eat at home.
Better to eat lamb burgers with homemade sourdough buns and a slice or two of Love Apple to set the mood. Better to set your own table with lacy mats and red napkins. Better to get out the heart-shaped napkin rings that were a gift from cousin Jan and pour a glass of red, red wine. Better to toast your new life and each other.