Memories of Valentine’s Day

Published 7:21 pm Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Today, as we all should know, is Valentine’s Day, a day when love and romance conquers all.

It’s also a day some boyfriends and husbands dread, because they are faced with the task of trying to find something romantic and nice for their spouse or significant other or both.

And that particular part of Valentine’s Day — gift giving —brings back memories of my college days. Not the days of romance as I courted and dated my wife, but my time working in a pharmacy in Baton Rouge. The preparations for Valentine’s Day began in early February, when the shipments of seasonal novelties and boxes of candy began coming to the store to be displayed on the special shelves.

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That work was followed by the Valentine’s Day rush as the husbands and boyfriends began grabbing and seizing the perfumes and boxes of candy off the shelves. The cheaper boxes went first, and the more expensive boxes followed, including the big $75 heart-shaped Whitman’s Sampler box everyone thought would go on sale the next day. Usually, the expensive box was bought by some husband who had a serious sin to atone for, or by some poor guy looking to super impress his latest romance.

I can say without contradiction I have never bought my wife candy for Valentine’s Day. That was the only request she ever made about Valentine’s Day, and in the 44 years we’ve been married, I have followed that request, although one year I did give her a tiny sterling silver Hershey’s kiss on a chain.

My Valentine gifts to my wife have ranged from the traditional flowers and jewelry to the non-traditional items like candles and mugs. One year, I gave her her first cell phone. The flowers were usually delivered to Marcia at work, which I’m sure raised the ire of many husbands and boyfriends. Other items were given during special dinners or before a date.

Over the past few years, I’ve tried to find Valentine’s gifts that were a little out of the ordinary as a surprise for my wife, and sometimes that search gets a bit hard, because for one reason, I’m one of those wait-until-the-last-minute people who get caught up in other things and forget and then panic. Every once in a while, however, I manage to come up with a surprise, like the large stuffed tiger I got for her a few years ago.

But in the end, the true meaning of Valentine’s Day is not in the flowers or the gifts, but in the personal expressions of love and afffection. The joy of being with your wife and family, or that special someone you feel close to.

And those expressions of love are something we need to share with our fellow man, not in the manner of hugs and kisses, but in our respect for someone’s beliefs and heritage and the common courtesy to not criticize, abuse and condemn them because they are, or seem, different from ourselves.

John Surratt is a staff writer at The Vicksburg Post. You may reach him at

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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