Allow me to wish you all a very lovely Valentine’s Day…straight from my heart. Well, let me be honest with you. Valentine’s Day is like what Winston Churchill said about Russia, “It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” Valentine’s Day didn’t begin by sending chocolates and roses to a loved one. It did begin with the deaths of two or three Christian martyrs by the name in Latin, Valentinus. One of the martyrs was executed for marrying a Roman soldier who weren’t allowed to get married for some reason. This particular Valentinus cured some medical issue for Asterius, who was the jailer’s daughter while he was in jail waiting his execution. According to the legend, he wrote a letter to the little girl and signed it Your Valentine.
We aren’t sure which one of these two executions is St. Valentine. All that we know for a fact is that Emperor Claudius II killed both men named Valentinus on February 14 but in different years of his reign from 268-270.
The waters get muddier when we try to figure out details about the other Valentinus. If that is not murky enough, St. Valentine’s Day comes into play its relationship with the fertility celebration tied to cleansing of the Romans called Lupercalia. That rite occurs between February 13-15. To be honest with you, I don’t understand how sex and cleansing are related.
Geoffrey Chaucer is credited for moving executions of two or three people with the name Valentinus into things like hearts, flowers, and chocolate candy. This is Chaucer’s poem written into modern English.
What continues this riddle, wrapping itself in a mystery inside of an enigma, was why did Chaucer take several executions and deal with a day of love and kisses? Okay, I’ll be honest. I have no idea unless he was drinking or suffering from Alzheimer’s.
To add insult to injury, William Shakespeare, in Hamlet, has Ophelia uttering a slightly more understanding comment.
I am still perplexed even with a more or less modern understanding of Valentine’s Day. Part of my issue is the inky black history of Valentine’s Day, and its connection to executions. However, regardless of the history, what about my personal history, which isn’t great with the romantic side. From my first romance with Dottie Horton when I was in 5th grade to the present, I have not been able to find a situation which works well. As for Dottie, my parents moved away to another state. I said good-bye to her and we parted. That wasn’t my mistake; I blame my parents.
Nevertheless, over my life, I have not been successful with either dating or marriage. Some of the problems, I will accept. Some of the other problems were the other person. And assuredly, some of the problems were both our faults.
Therefore, while some of you are relishing in a happy and healthy Valentine’s Day, I wish you well. At 75, I’m content with my life of teaching, writing, traveling, and caring for Ginger. I linked up with her just over a year ago. We will have dinner together on February 14 as we watch this video Single Awareness Day (SAD). However, I have already gotten a Valentine’s Day card from Ginger.
Then we will watch a Sherlock Holmes movie.
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