Valentine Thrills

Some of the best Valentine thrills don’t come from traditional romance. Sure, sure, romance is nice, but everyday joy is available to all, no matter what the day.

I was single for a big chunk of my life. Many a Valentine’s Day, I thought longingly about flowers sent to my job. I wasn’t cheesy enough to send them to myself. One year, I skipped the cheese and went straight to the heart of the matter … or rather to the meat of the matter. On the way home from work, I saw a favorite barbecue place. I stopped in and bought myself — and my female dog, Ruffles — a bouquet of ribs.

We were the two happiest women in Houston that night. Ahh. Barbecue love NEVER lets you down. I can certainly “love the one I’m with” if ribs are included!

A man I worked with at the hospital gave out penny Valentines to all the women he encountered on Valentine’s Day. Now THAT’s Charm, and in “George-Clooney-charm.” The nurses and staff would do anything for him.

That inspired me to buy a box for today.  I am giving them to everyone I see today.

I stopped at Starbucks for a treat and while I waited in the drive-thru, I filled out a Valentine. “To: SBUX From: Dixie.” There was just enough room to tuck a folded bill ($5) in the little card. The guy at the window was young enough to be my grandson … if my grandson were ethnically different from me. What ethnicity? Who cares? He was brown-ish and had a beard. After I got my coffee and paid, I asked, “Will you be my Valentine?”

He leaned out the window, gave me a huge smile, and said, “Of course! I’ll be your Valentine!” He had a thousand-watt smile.

I smiled back, handed him the card and drove off before he could see the tip. I was really, really happy. I felt pure joy. Sure, I’d like to have given him a thousand-dollar tip, but he’ll still remember the $5 and the sweet, anonymous encounter. I’ll remember it, too. I plan to do this again.

The point? However nice HE felt, I felt a thousand times better. If you want your life to be happier, GIVE joy. Celebrate whatever day you like: St. Patrick’s Day, your birthday, the Fourth of July. But throw out a little joy into the universe. A couple of generous tips are worth a boatload of therapy. They are a joyous connection between you and someone who’s working hard for their living. It says, “I may not know you, but I like you.”

What’s next? I’m going to get ribs! Whoever hands them to me will get a “stuffed” Valentine. If I weren’t married, I’d propose. Male, female? Young? Old? I don’t care.

Anyone who hands me barbecued ribs is MY ideal human being.