From Your Valentine

Well, as legend has it, it all began in Rome near the end of the 5th Century. Tradition was that the Festival of the Lupercian was held sometime in the middle of the month of February. Now this festival was conducted to pay homage to the God of Fertility, it was a celebration of sensual pleasure, a time to meet and court a prospective mate. But, as the story goes, Pope Gelasius didn't like this festival too much, so in AD 496 he outlawed the pagan festival. Concerned the Roman citizens might not take too kindly to his drastic action, the Pope decided to replace the Festival of the Lupercian with another similar, but somewhat more morally suitable celebration. It was his aspiration to create a "lovers" saint that would replace the pagan deity Lupercus.

Enter the martyred Bishop Valentine. Pope Gelasius chose the Bishop as patron saint of the new festival and Bishop Valentine became "Saint Valentine". Bishop Valentine it seems had the misfortune to have been beheaded many years earlier for helping young lovers marry against the wishes of the mad emperor Claudius. As legend has it, prior to his death Valentine himself had fallen in love, with his jailer's daughter. The morning of his execution he signed his final note to her, "From Your Valentine."

I got thinking about Valentines Day, thought about everybody rushing around picking up flowers and cards and chocolate, oh chocolate. I mean Valentines Day is a celebration, a declaration of ones love for another, so we must love it, right? I got wondering what people really think about Valentines Day and about love, so I went asking. I figured men would grumble and women would get dreamy eyed, but I found that wasn't necessarily the case. You'll find their comments below. I made no attempt to identify which comments were from men and which were from women. I'll leave that fun to you.

I also refrained from telling them anything about the good Bishop and future Saint or the Emperor who caused him to lose his head, nor did I mention the Bishop's last note or the Pope who brought Valentine immortality. I simply asked two questions, "When I say, Valentines Day, what do you think of?" and, "When you think of love or falling in love, what comes to mind?" Here's what they had to say.

When I say, Valentines Day, what do you think of?

"Valentines Day is too commercial, love is there all year long. You don't really need a day."

"Silly hearts. Little reminders to be thankful because you've got it, love that is."

"It's an artificial build up of expectation, only to be dashed on the rocks of reality."

"It's sentimental love, giving more value to something than even God had intended."

"It's finding a genuine voice in the midst of contrived obligation."

"Wet kisses!"

"A monumental reminder that I'm single and probably always will be."

"Roses and my man."

"The best part of Valentines Day is going to the store on the 15th and buying good candy at half price."

"Valentines Day means I gotta go out and get some presents or else I'm in the doghouse."

"Just another bloody opportunity for card companies and the like. It's selling soap."

"It's a crock. Love has crashed and burned too often."

"Calla lilies!"

"It's Loooooove and happy times."

"Flowers and friends and candy hearts."

"Hugs and kisses."

"Pink, white lacy stuff."

"Earrings and good perfume."

"My boyfriend."

"I don't think about it. That's my problem."

When you think of love or falling in love, what comes to mind?

"It's the most important thing a human being can do."

"It is what happens between two people, if they're lucky."

"Love is scary and wonderful."

"Hugs! Aye, yi yi, yi yi!"

"The song by ABBA, 'Love Is Like Oxygen'."

"Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music, 'Love Is A Drug'."

"The Beatles said it best, 'All You Need Is Love'."

"It's the way your heart quickens when you spot her across the room."

"Love and Valentines day have nothing in common. One is commercial the other is real."

"It's when you know you'll be more a person, when you're with that person."

"It's the way he looks at you, the way you can lose yourself in his eyes."

"Love? It makes the world go around."

"To be in love takes a long time, to really know a person. That's what I think."

"Love is familiarity."

"It's when I'm in lust, it's immediate."

"Love is an obsession; taxing, exhausting, every bit of energy focused and you have absolutely no control. I love it!"

I saved the best for last. Alma Rosa, a beautiful woman with bright, happy eyes, said it most eloquently in Spanish. "Amor, poreza sangre. Es lo mejor, es la razon de vivir!"

"Love purifies your blood. It's the most beautiful thing, it's the reason for living!"

We'll talk next time, From The Road.

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