Hearts. Chocolate. Love notes and pretty cards. Valentine's day is one holiday that can be divinely fun or deeply depressing. Or, a day everyone, it seems, but you, seem to be celebrating.
This is a story of friendship. Back in the 1980s, there was a group of seven of us in various stages of life disrepair. Broken relationships or no relationships, unfulfilling jobs, losses. We seven were good friends -- three women, four men -- about half of whom worked together, the other half made up of people who had volunteered for our television station's fundraising events.
We called ourselves the SPIES. Single People in Emotional Stress. Or, if you prefer, Single People in the Emotional Sewer.
We kept each other sane during times in our lives when other circumstances weren't helping. There was always someone with whom one could go to lunch or dinner. It wasn't a date as such. It was friends at dinner. Friends who knew and cared for and liked each other.
We once had a progressive dinner-and-movie-marathon-sleepover, where we started out with appetizers at one spot, dinner at another, late night at a third, where we slept over and had breakfast the next morning, and a pizza late afternoon lunch. Our companions included Cary Grant (North by Northwest), Gene Kelly (Singin' in the Rain), Errol Flynn (The Adventures of Robin Hood) and Dustin Hoffman (The Graduate).
There was the Oscar Party, where we dressed to the nines and posed for photos as one might at the senior prom.
Of course we voted for who would win! "Producers" and "Moguls" were present!
And then there was the Blue Valentine party (think Tom Waits and you get the idea). We ate, drank, swapped valentines and reveled in the fact that we were there for each other.
I have a wonderful valentine now. He's been my valentine since 1996 and every year I feel more fortunate than the one before.
We've shared tears and laughter, travels and treasured times. Thanks to him, I've seen two little boys grow to manhood and get to share in the lives of two more recently hatched little guys.
We don't just love each other. We like each other. We trust each other. We care for each other.
I'm one of the lucky ones. And I know it.
I have other Valentines, too -- my wonderful friends who are always so supportive. Several in this group have moved out of town and yet we're still in touch.
My Cork Popper buddies, who always make me laugh. When Omicron passes and the weather gets better, we may see each other again!
There are so many other valentines who make my life a more joyful and happy place. Count yourself in that group. You deserve flowers.
But hopefully these words will do. Thank you for joining me here at Marmelade Gypsy -- you are loved.