Valentine’s Day—Bah Humbug!

Valentine’s Day—Bah Humbug!

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Since we have just celebrated the holiday, allow me to explain why Valentine’s Day has lost some of its appeal for me. In spite of the fact that I dearly love chocolate, Russell Stover being my preference, 275X230I am at the age that I can no longer pretend that calories and sugar don’t count if consumed on a holiday. My doctor has been telling me that for years—though, just between you and me, I believe she’s opposed to anything that makes me happy, like not exercising.

Since I can’t indulge in my favorite heart-shaped box of chocolates,  the other customary gifts usually chosen by our significant others are flowers, perfume and jewelry. My allergies preclude having cut flowers in the house, so that eliminates the roses I adore, along with perfume or anything scented, such as candles. As for jewelry, I rarely wear the pieces I already have, choosing instead to wear only my wedding ring and earrings. Earrings are something that my son knows I will wear, so he’s been giving me those for years and I have a great collection. This leaves very little for my husband to choose from on gift giving occasions.

Still, being a dutiful husband, every year he covers his bases on holidays, especially Valentine’s Day, by asking me if there’s anything in particular that I would like. And every year my reply is the same: “Just get me a card, and write something mushy in it.” Making certain to remember to take me out to dinner to celebrate, my plea for no gifts actually worked until last year.

Walking into the house with his hand behind his back and a silly grin on his face, I instantly knew he was up to something. He presented me with a card, which I opened and read right away. The verse was lovely, but not as lovely as the note that he had written below it. Then, beaming as though he had just purchased a Lamborghini, he handed me what was behind his back—something he was certain would make me smile. It was a stuffed dog!

350X261.When I was young, my siblings and I longed for a pet. Our parents, however, were not in favor of getting us one, most likely because they knew they’d ultimately be left to care for it. Consequently, every Christmas I asked for a stuffed animal and, in my vivid imagination, those toys took the place of the pets I was not allowed to have. Needless to say, I have since made up for the lack of pets during my childhood.

Even so, I never outgrew my love of stuffed animals and years later when Beanie Babies became so popular, collecting them was all the excuse I needed to fill a large barrister bookcase. A similar one holds another collection of life-size cats made by the same company and other assorted animals. My Valentine dog joined the menagerie.

As an author of Austen inspired fiction, I have often thought that if the celebration of Valentine’s Day was as influenced by advertising during the Regency era as it is today, it would be amusing to write. I can imagine writing a scene where Darcy must create a card for Elizabeth, complete with original poetry, or rush to a confectionery shop to buy chocolates, all because he forgot it was Valentine’s Day. Bingley might see the huge heart-shaped box of candy that Darcy bought for Elizabeth and rush out to purchase an even larger one for Jane. It’s such fun to imagine the competition between the men in an effort to impress their ladies. I bet even Wickham could come up with a fitting Valentine present if the acquisition of a young lady’s fortune hung in the balance.

As it is, I’ve written only one story that references the holiday and that’s a modern short story hidden somewhere on my computer. I did, however, write a conversation in my latest novel, Darcy and Elizabeth – A Most Unlikely Couple, that I think would be fitting for Valentine’s Day.

~~~~* * *~~~~~* * *~~~~~

Oh, Will,” was all she managed to say before their lips met.

 William ended the kiss, whispering, “I need to retrieve something from my bedroom. Do not move.”

 “I do not think I shall be going anywhere, the way I am dressed,” Elizabeth teased, holding the sheet back.

 By then William was donning his robe and glanced to her display. Sucking in his breath, he said, “If you keep that up, I shall never leave this room again.”

 Despite what he said, he did hurry from the room and in only seconds returned with a mysterious smile on his face and a hand hidden behind his back.

 Elizabeth smiled mischievously. “Just what are you hiding, Mr. Darcy?”

 “Close your eyes and you will learn soon enough.” She did as asked and felt the bed settle as he sat back down on it. “Now you may open them.”

 Elizabeth sat speechless, blinking steadily at an exquisite, gold wedding band. It was wide enough that words had been engraved on it and a diamond had been sunk into the space between each word.

 He chuckled. “Have you nothing to say?”

 “I . . . it is so beautiful that words fail me.”

 “Read the inscription.”

 As she read the words aloud, her eyes filled with tears and her voice choked. “First . . . Last . . . Only . . . Always.”

 “I wanted my feelings toward you inscribed on your ring for the entire world to see. You are my one and only love, now and forever.”

 ~~~~* * *~~~~~* * *~~~~~

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Since this post was written before Valentine’s Day, I have no way of knowing what I’ll get from my Mr. Darcy this year—perhaps just a card with a personal note. If so, I’ll cherish it, for whether it’s a sentimental card or a silly stuffed animal, nothing can take the place of someone expressing how much you mean to them.

I hope that someone in your life thought of the perfect way to make you smile.

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P.S.  Darcy and Elizabeth – A Most Unlikely Couple was published in November and I hope to make you smile by giving away two copies, your choice of kindle e-book or paperback. Just leave a comment and tell me that you want to be included in the drawing. Giveaway closes midnight Saturday (CST).

53 Responses to Valentine’s Day—Bah Humbug!

  1. That is such a lovely excerpt! It makes you just melt! I think the best gifts are meaningful ones especially written expression of someone’s thoughts… I would prefer a hand written card/letter to any presents on a holiday.

  2. I’m surprised no one mentioned lingerie as a Valentine’s gift. Two of my husband’s colleagues were once changing the oil in one of them’s car not long before Valentine’s Day when the matter of gifts for wives came up. Matt said he never knew what to buy. Russ said, “Get her lingerie.” Matt said he had no idea how to choose lingerie. Russ said, “I’ll teach you.” So they finished up the oil change and went to an upscale lingerie store. Russ starts feeling the goods, pointing out to Matt that you have to run the material between your fingers to check the quality. They didn’t pay any attention to the looks they were getting from the elegant sales ladies as they moved on to the next rack, but then a security guard appeared and threw them out. Although both were respected academics, they looked like they were homeless. Moral: Men, don’t shop for lingerie when dressed in old clothes after working on a car in an unheated garage in the dead of a Canadian Prairie winter. Russ never finished his tutorial, and Matt’s marriage ended about a year later.
    Why do I suspect that Mr Darcy never had problems like this? Let me count the ways…

    • Oh Beatrice, you’re story cracked me up! How funny and how sad at the same time! After all, they were only trying to ‘do the right thing’ and were not trying to act like perverts. 🙂 I do agree that they should have had the sense to dress appropriately for the store though.

      My hubby is prone to work in the garden in his worst clothes (think rips and holes) and after he has red clay over every inch of his body, jump in his truck to run to the local stores. He thinks it is hilarious the looks he gets. Thank so much for telling me the story and you are right, I left off lingerie. I suppose because I never liked lingerie unless I picked it out!

  3. Your sharing touched my heart, Brenda. I’m hopeful I will meet someone who cherished and love me the way I am and don’t mind giving me presents on special holidays. The excerpt is beautiful too and very suitable for Valentine’s Day.

    • How sweet of you to say. I am so happy, too, that you enjoyed the little excerpt from my latest book. I thought it went well for Valentine’s Day. 🙂

  4. Hi Brenda. I’m three quarters of the way through reading your book Mr. Darcy’s Forbidden Love right now and really enjoying it, thank you. That extract above is just the sort of thing that makes me melt into a gooey puddle. “First…Last…Only…Always”. – *sigh*. Obviously, I’d love to win a couple of A Most Unlikely Couple so’s I can read the rest!

    Believe it or not, we both actually forgot it was Valentine’s Day last Saturday! First time in over 37 years of marriage. We had a visitor due to arrive late Friday night who got very delayed and didn’t finally get here till the wee small hours, so it was lunchtime before we stirred very far. That’s the only reason I can think of for us forgetting. Normally, neither of us plans ahead what we’re going to do. If we’re both at home, we’ll have a special trip out somewhere and buy each other something as a memento of the day, or possibly a joint gift. If (boo, hiss!) I’m working (hubby is retired), then we’ll have a special meal out on the day and go for our trip as soon as possible afterwards. Chocolate is almost always involved.

    So, in the end, this year, our son and his girlfriend came round and we had takeaway pizza and sparkling wine! Not had the trip out yet as our visitor doesn’t leave till tomorrow (Sunday) and I have a full week’s work next week. Maybe next Saturday? Only a fortnight late!

    • I’m thrilled that you are reading one of my stories, Anji! Your Valentine’s traditions sound lovely too. I really like the idea of buying something as a memento of the day. I think I shall suggest that next year to my Darcy. I love that your holiday ended with your son and his girlfriend joining in too.

  5. Your DH is a treasure — count your blessings!

    The very best valentine I ever received was from my six year old son, David. I was in Ft Worth on business that week and missed the call from my sons the night before. In the middle of a meeting of executive management the following morning, a secretary entered and handed me a manilla folder with a paper inside. I looked at it right away thinking it must be important, and it certainly was. It was a fax from David with a big red heart that he drew and the following poem he wrote in red, unsteady,little boy letters: “Roses are red, violets are blue, I love you and Eric does too!” Eric is my other son who is a year older than David. Apparently, David was worried that Eric didn’t remember to send me a card and he wanted to include Eric so I would not be hurt.

    So very sweet. I will remember that valentine to my dying day.

    Thanks for sharing your valentines and your excerpt — please don’t include me in the pool to win your book. I don’t need an incentive to read your stories or this blog; my reward is the enjoyment I get from reading your stories and the stories of the other JAFF writers.

    • What a sweet story! That would be my favorite Valentine’s Day too! Precious that one so small was thinking of your feelings and even his brother’s. Thank you for sharing your memory with us and I am so proud that we can entertain you with our stories. You are exactly the kind of reader we write for!

    • I think every JAFF writer would love to do a Valentine’s regency story, Rose. You’re welcome for the excerpt!

  6. I am always happy with chocolate, but do get it quite often throughout the whole year, so Valentine’s Day chocolate is not as special, but still oh so delicious ! I would love either an ebook or paper copy of your book. Thank you for the giveaway!

    • I can never get enough chocolate now that I can’t eat it, Nicole! 🙂 Thanks for commenting and I wish you luck in the drawing.

  7. Hi, Brenda – I loved the scenes you wrote regarding that ring. It still chokes me up a bit. However, I see Darcy as never forgetting a holiday. Maybe Elizabeth would forget before him.

    As for real life Valentines day, it is only worthwhile when you have your own Valentine. He is your best gift!

    Peggy
    (Aka gabbycat)

    • So sweet of you to drop by to support me Peggy! I am prejudiced I know, but I loved that scene myself. Though my hubby is great, he is not a romantic in the sense that my story Mr. Darcys are! And I agree that perhaps Elizabeth would forget Valentine’s before Darcy would (or this one at least!). Still, I have no complaints in my real-life Darcy department! 🙂

  8. Very enjoyable story about your thoughtful husband and a lovely excerpt from your novel.
    I can empathise with the allergies…I didn’t realise I was allergic until I was given a massive bouquet from work colleagues a few years back. I thought I was dying I was so sick, it took me days to realise it was the flowers as I had never had a reaction before. A card and a hug from my granddaughter was my valentines present this year. I have yet to meet my Mr Darcy….lol

    • So nice to see your smiling face here Nell. I know exactly what you mean about allergies as mine have gradually got worse the older I get. Now I can’t be around cut flowers or outside during pollen season, which seems to be almost year round where I live. Your granddaughter is a sweetie for I’ve seen her picture on our forum. And, as for finding Mr. Darcy, I fear that true Darcys are few and far between. Nevertheless, I shall keep my fingers crossed for you!

  9. My hubby bought a rose for myself (and also gave one to our 8yo daughter, which I thought was very sweet). A few days later an upright piano arrived! Needless to say I was very surprised and delighted.

    I loved your story and love that saying – those four words that encompass so much -haven’t bought the book yet – maybe he should have done that instead of the rose 😀

    • You have a good Mr. Darcy yourself Karen. An upright piano–wow! Now that’s a present! Perhaps you will win a copy of my novel but, if not, Mother’s Day will be here before we know it. 🙂 Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. It means a lot to me.

  10. I also have a kindle copy of your book and likewise thought it was great. I hope everyone had a great Valentines Day. I was never a collector of stuffed animals we always had the real thing and still do. My favourite was my cat Scruffie, he received his name when my father-in-law who used to do volunteer work in the restoration of a Church which was the first Church built in Australia without the use of convicts. One day he heard a very faint meow and searching around he finally found the source of it, a six week old kitten who had somehow got underneath a gravestone. He managed to entice it out and then proceeding to convince my then 7 year old son who was with us that I would let him keep the kitten. Of course they wore me down so we were the proud owner of a scruffy ball of fur who my son named Scruffie. After a battle to wash the kitten he quickly adapted to our house together with the dogs and lived to a ripe old age of 17 years. He was a one of a kind, I’m sure he thought he was a dog and he was afraid of nothing, just imagine this grey tabby cat with a personality or catonality similar to Garfield. My sons still tell their kids about the famous cat called Scruffie.

    • Thank you so kindly for commenting Maureen. I am so proud that you liked the book. I would rather have had lots of ‘real’ animals too but unfortunately we did not, thus the fascination with stuffed ones. My favorite stuffed animal is a pony! I wished for one all my life and never got it, so my husband pointed out one he saw in a store and told me to get it. 😉 Love the story of scruffy! Some of the pets I have loved the most were foundlings who found me. Each one took a big piece of my heart when the crossed over the Rainbow Bridge and, like your son, they live on in the tales we share.

  11. That was awesome, Brenda. I blame my stuffed animals on needing to have them for the grandkids to play with. Yeah right. Tell your husband he did good! I have some roses that I bought a few years ago that are made of wood. The petals are delicate shaved thin pieces, and they look so real. And I agree on Russell Stover chocolate. I actually got to go through their gift shop connected to the factory. Love their stuff.

    • I thought that you would like my Valentine’s gift Mel, for it is obvious from FB that we both love animals! I used to pretend they were gifts, thinking someone my age should not buy stuffed animals but I got to the point that I said ‘so what.’ No different than collecting anything else. I bet those roses are beautiful! I thought of buying some of the glass ones but they were so expensive that I did not. Lucky you for going through the Russell Stover factory. I would have eaten my way out I am afraid.

  12. I loved the excerpt, Brenda. What a wonderful sentiment. I laughed at your comments about dogs for in one of my books (Darcy’s Passions), Darcy gives Elizabeth a dog – an English Springer spaniel (which was my favorite pet from my youth). Odd how much of what we place in our books are discovered in memories from our lives. Well done!

    • I am so pleased that you liked the sentiment and that the comment about the dog made you smile, Regina. I love spaniels, too, as I had a Cocker Spaniel years ago and he was the sweetest animal. He was red and my son named him Rusty. I agree that authors draw from their own experiences when they write. whether by design or accident.

  13. Being told I had to cut back on chocolate by my doctor would be a tragedy for my future Valentine’s Day pleasure. My hubby loves that I’m so easy- Dove Dark Chocolate and an adorable card and he gets to pick where we go out to dinner and what movie we watch when we get home along with getting his own card from me. My mom is the stuffed animal lover in our family though I do have a few adorable Boyds bears that were pressies from hubby too.

    Such a sweet scene from your book and I would love to win a copy, thanks!

    • It is disheartening to not eat chocolate whenever I want. When I was a child that was my ‘grown-up’ fantasy! 🙂 For my everyday chocolate, Dove is my choice too! I like that your hubby gets to pick the dinner and the movie. I try to make mine pick but he refuses. I am a big kid about stuffed animals but I have begun to give a lot of them away for my house is so small and it is my hope that someone will love them as much as I do. Besides they look brand new! I am so pleased to see your comment and I wish you luck in the drawing.

  14. You are so lucky to have such a caring husband. Glad you enjoyed this year as well. Love the truly romantic excerpt from your book. I have that on my Amazon wish list so will wait until the draw in case I get lucky. Keep up the good work and thank you.

    • I do feel blessed to have such a good husband as I know some are not that fortunate. Not to say he doesn’t have flaws, but then so do I, so I cannot complain. I am so glad that your name is in the pot to perhaps win a copy of my book. I truly think you will like it if you enjoyed this excerpt.

    • I have to say that my husband has greatly improved over the last 39 years, Diana. And, like I tell him, I have no energy left to train another one, so he is secure! 🙂 I love Amazon cards too!

  15. Brenda I was so taken with your post today. Your husband is so thoughtful, sweet and knows you so well. What a gift of real love.

    • How sweet of you to tell me, Ellie. My husband says I have ‘finally gotten him trained’ and I have to agree.

  16. No bah humbug! Just a need for a little extra creativity. Wonderful excerpt. Will is quite the charmer. Thank you for the giveaway.

  17. I’m with you in the allergy department. I jokingly say to people “I get concerned if he DOES send me flowers”. When I was growing up, Valentine’s Day was always to celebrate my mom’s birthday and my parents anniversary (yeah, my dad never had to remember another date). LOL

    Hope you got something sweet and non-allergenic… =D

    • I know a lot of people who have allergies Stephanie and they aren’t fun. The older I get the worse they have become for I used to wear a light perfume to work (back when that was allowed). Your dad had it easy! I did eat half of a hot-fudge sundae after having a great meal out.

  18. Brenda, reading your bog post and excerpt is certainly an awe moment for me. I love the caring and tenderness portrayed by our favorite couple and the thoughtfulness of your DH. My Greg kind of goes along with the Regency speculation about forgetting the holiday, and since he is afraid of doing just that, he always gives me my birthday and holiday cards coupled with candy and flowers well in advance. This year, on Feb 1st, I got a beautiful heart pendant. Our guys are sure special. Loved your post, ~Jen Red~

    • I’m glad the post reminded you of my story Jen! I really enjoyed writing this couple. Your Greg is so sweet in so many ways. I know because you and I have talked often about our spouses (shh, don’t anyone tell!). I lovvvvve heart pendants! I think they say ‘ I love you’ so clearly and that’s why I use them in so many of my stories. I agree that we have been lucky in the Mr. Darcy department!

  19. Brenda that was so fabulous. I don’t think bah humbug it is! And I loved the scene from your most recent book. I think valentines would be wonderful if it was randomly done through the year so you would be pleasantly surprised all the time!

    • Thank you so kindly. I am pleased that you loved the scene and I agree entirely about Valentines. If they were spontaneous I think they would mean so much more. I have to admit that my husband (now that he is older) has taken to surprising me quite often with things he knows I like. Those times let me know that he really is thinking of me and not just following the crowd.

  20. Oh, Brenda, what an excerpt!! Those four words, what a perfect choice! Not only that they encompass the kind of relationship we imagine for Elizabeth and Mr Darcy, but they have a rhythm, a poetry of their own that’s unspeakably moving! Thanks for sharing this gem with us, and the story of Valentine’s gifts too 🙂

    • I am humbled at your compliment for I greatly admire your awesome descriptive writing. I do think this scene encompasses all that the reader needs to know about this Darcy and Elizabeth. Thank you for taking time to letting me know how you saw the scene. It made me smile.

  21. Brenda, This was really cute. Thank you for sharing. I hope your hubby surprised you with something really lovely this year.

    • Barbara, I have to report that my hubby took me out to eat at a really nice restaurant and then to a malt shop for my favorite hot-fudge sundae! So I still got the chocolate I love! And, I suppose I must count the new water-pik that I wanted as my valentine’s gift, for he ordered it from Amazon and it came just after the holiday. Nothing like a water-pik to say ‘I love you’ I always say! Hey! He did order it without telling me and said ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ when he gave it to me.

  22. Thanks for the excerpt from your wonderful book, I already have the book and it is awesome. I hope you had a wonderful Valentines, thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.. Carmalee

    • It makes me smile to see your post Carmalee. You have been such a cheerleader to me no matter what I am doing and writing this book was no exception. Your encouragement along the way helped me to finish it when I was tired of the whole thing. I did have a great Valentine’s day and I hope you did as well.

Your thoughts are precious!