Wisdom in the Midst of Valentine’s Day Cards, Mush and Romantic Songs

Another short story I wrote back in 2008 to 2010 for The Cypress Times in Texas. I haven’t edited any of them but I thought I might share some of my old writing.

Wisdom in the Midst of Valentine’s Day Cards, Mush and Romantic Songs

Anthony and Gladys were quite a couple who loved each other dearly. After my own parents died, my husband’s parents became more than just family, we were friends. Michael and I valued their wisdom and their guidance, especially on marriage. Gladys passed away a few years ago and Anthony died shortly after. I loved them both, and the memories of Gladys in particular, still make me smile.

I remember one special occasion like it happened yesterday. It began when Gladys and I went shopping for Valentine’s Day. I found what I wanted fairly quickly but nothing was good enough for her Anthony. We read cards for hours but she wanted that perfect card. She wanted a Valentine’s Card with the perfect words.

“You’re the only love in my life,

You’re the only one I love…

When was the last time I said I love you?

“When was the last time I said I care?

It may have been last Valentine’s Day

But I could never be untrue?”

If I tell you that I love you,

If I tell you I’ll be true,

If I tell you you’re my sunshine

Will you be my Valentine?

Even when words are unsaid,

You’re forever in my heart

You’re forever in my head,

We can never part.

I give you my heart,

I give you my all

Just never let me go,

Let me be your Valentine.

“Oh, please. What a lot of mush,” Gladys concluded in desperation.

It was the fifth store we had visited and we had read dozens of silly poems, listened to romantic lyrics and trudged through mazes of red hearts and balloons. I had had enough. Gladys had given up. She replaced the last Valentine card back in the rack and we left—empty handed.

“I tell Anthony all the time that I love him. He tells me all the time. Well no… that’s not quite true.”

We laughed together and left arm-in-arm to the exit and out to the car.

Glad and I were sipping tea on her patio a few days after Valentine’s Day. Her eyes sparkled as she shared some moments from their Valentine’s dinner. Gladys always had a way of weaving teaching and wisdom together with life experiences to tell a story…as well as making it fun. This is what she shared:

“The aroma of roasting beef filled Anthony’s senses the moment he entered the house just after six o’clock…exactly how I had planned it. Our favourite romantic songs played quietly in the background, and two simple taper candles flickered in the gentle breeze from the fan rotating above an elegantly set table for two.

“‘Something smells good,’ Anthony said. It was his usual greeting, followed by a peck on the cheek. ‘Looks good too.’ Anthony opened the oven door to take a long sniff.

“I had even made a lemon-meringue pie for dessert, and told him so as he continued toward the bathroom to shower and change.

“My diamond ring still holds its sparkle, and for the evening, I had let my hair fall over my bare shoulders. They’re more like old prunes these days, but he never seems to mind.”

Gladys and I laughed at that.

Gladys continued. “The softness of the satin evening dress Anthony had bought me for Christmas, matched my mood of the evening.

“Anthony’s after-shower look made me smile. Always has. He looked relaxed after his long day and the scent of his favourite cologne drifted across the table and a wet strand of hair stuck to his forehead. He wore a shirt to match his hazel eyes, which twinkled in the candlelight.”

I smiled at her words. They were still in love, and it showed.

“The music changed as if on cue. ‘Remember this song?’ Anthony had whispered, like he was trying to avoid drowning out the words.

“’Yes,’ I smiled. ‘It was the song on the car radio the night you asked me to marry you. ‘

“Anthony looked into my eyes and said, ‘I love you more now than I can say.’ His boyish grin still captivates my heart.”

Gladys admitted her throat constricted many times that evening.

“I thought about those mushy greeting cards a lot. All I could get out was that I loved him too. Anthony admitted he hadn’t bought a Valentine’s card either. They were all so…”

“Mushy.” We finished the sentence together.

After 40 years of marriage, they didn’t need a card to say how much they loved each other.

“‘No, I guess we’re mushy enough,’ Anthony had declared. He had stood and took me by my hand and led me outside where, in the light of the silvery moon, we old “mushies” danced the night away.”

I miss Glad, and I miss her guidance she gave as the older woman. Yes, Gladys was my mother-in-law but most of all, she was my friend. Our shopping trips were always special. Her wonderful stories will stay with me forever. Perhaps one day, I’ll have a daughter-in-law of my own to whom I can pass on Gladys’s stories and share similar ones of my own.

© Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in: Short Fiction

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