Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you lovers out there, and especially to Miss Terry, the love of my life. Terry, everything I am and everything I ever hope to be is because of you. I love you with all of my being. As I held you when I went to sleep last night I thought I couldn’t possibly love you more, just as I do every night. And when I woke up this morning I realized I was wrong, just as I am every morning.
In honor of the day, I am posting a story about my parents that I shared a few years ago on Valentine’s Day. As I said then, it is either one of the greatest love stories you’ll ever hear, or one of the worst stories about communication between a man and woman. I’ll leave it to you to decide which.
My parents were married at the start of the Great Depression, and by their first anniversary my mother was pregnant. Times were hard for the young couple trying to make it on a small farm in Hudson, Michigan, and my father was humiliated that all he could afford to give my mother were three chocolate covered cherries. He promised her with tears in his eyes that someday things would get better. Mom told him it was the perfect gift and she loved her three cherries, one for her, one for him, and one for the baby they would have in just a few months.
My parents were never rich, but they were hard working people and over time things did get better for them. They were married for over 54 years and every year on their anniversary, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and on her birthday, no matter what other gift he bought her, my Dad gave Mom a box of chocolate covered cherries. When he was in the South Pacific during World War II, his younger brother made sure that the cherries arrived right on schedule.
As their lot in life improved, the boxes of candy got bigger and Mom always gushed over them and made a big production of biting into the first one as my Dad’s face beamed with love and pride. Us children were forbidden to have even one; Dad let us know those were Mom’s special treat.
Dad died of cancer in 1984, a few weeks after their anniversary. My Mom never drove a car, and every day I would take her to the hospital to spend time with him. Dad was bedridden, but the day before their anniversary he called and asked me to pick up a big box of chocolate covered cherries for him and drop them off ahead of Mom’s visit, which I did on my way to work the next morning. That evening when I brought her to the hospital, Dad presented her with her traditional gift and as always, Mom gushed like a schoolgirl and asked him how in the world he accomplished that. Dad just smiled and told her he had his ways, and winked at me.
Driving home that night, my Mom said, “Thank you for doing that for your Dad. It meant a lot to him. He’s always been so proud of giving me my cherries. And I’ve never had the heart to tell him how much I hate them!” I looked at her in wonder, and Mom said, “It would have broken his heart, so I’ve gagged these things down for years, just to see the look in his eyes.”
So you tell me, love story or terrible communication? I’m voting love story, myself.
Thought For The Day – The best gift a father can give his children is to show them how much he loves their mother.