SAN FRANCISCO -- As soon as tinsel and elf tracks were carted away, hearts of all denominations, designs and dimensions exploded from store windows.
While I was still throwing out soggy bows and crushed wrapping paper, a force was loosed on the land. It shouted, "Wake up, you dunderhead -- it's Valentine's Day!"
In January? Where did I get the foolish notion that Valentine's Day was Feb. 14? I also used to believe that this was a holiday that had a lot to do with telling the person you love that you truly, dearly do love them.
Expressions of love
Some said it with a sonnet. Some said it with flowers, champagne and candy. Certainly no one that I knew said it with a heart-shaped toilet seat.
Yet the day of love, Valentine's Day, has evolved into "Valentine's Day -- Only 37 Shopping Days Left!"
I never actually thought of heart ties, towels and ashtrays as romantic. But someone must. Or why else would they sprout from every aisle in the supermarket? Anatomically correct heart candy dishes also make lovely gifts.
Then there are squooshy heart "novelties" that snicker when you squeeze them.
Heart-shaped bells are nice. You can use them to chime out the 12 days of Valentine's, a merry chant for this festive time of year. Or you can purchase tinny little cards that sing.
Hearts for Bowser
Romance? You bet. And what can say it better than heart-shaped boxes filled with dog food? Of course, we shouldn't overlook the greeting cards. Not to get mushy, but I know I want to send valentines to all of my business contacts, service professionals and teachers. I also don't want to forget those people who have been just like a mother, father, sister, brother, cousin, pal or foot doctor to me.
For a special treat, packaged red and white foods are nice. Then there are all the romantic hideaways offering unique holiday packages, like the hotel and billiards weekend or the romantic "singles" intensive aerobics-alternative medicine and plastic surgery Valentine's Fiesta -- (each room furnished with heart-shaped bed, hot tub and Di-gels).
So don't wait until the last minute. The stores are chock-full of merchandise right now. You know you don't want to get stuck (again) in those crowds on Valentine's Day Eve, desperately searching for the "perfect" gift.
How do I love thee? Let me count the sales.
Ruth Sherman, a writer and filmmaker, wrote this for the San Francisco Examiner.
Pub Date: 1/28/99