This Valentine’s Day

A bit earlier today, as I was checking out at Central Market, the cashier made a snarky comment that stuck in my craw. I was buying Valentine’s flowers, cards, and dinner for Dennise and me. As I swiped my card to the beep of the register, the cashier said,

“Aw….just short-stem roses?”

She said it in a sweet voice. But I got every single syllable of the implied judgment.

She was making reference to the fact that I’d picked out “short stemmed” roses, instead of “long-stemmed” ones, for my wife and daughter.

My first thought was sarcastic. What I wanted to say was this:

“Well, the short-stemmed are half the price of the long-stemmed. And, they’re just freaking flowers, anyway. What the hell difference does it make? If you didn’t jack up the price by double, maybe I would have bought long-stemmed ones…”

But I said none of this. I just gazed off distantly, as if I hadn’t heard.

Even half-deaf guys can pretend not to hear, now and then.

Incredibly, though, since I obviously hadn’t reacted the first time, the cashier repeated herself!  Seconds later, she said…

“Aw, just short-stem roses?”

I could not believe my ears.

At this point, what I wanted to say was:

“You have no freakin’ idea what you’re talking about. Let me tell you about what love is. Love is that I just spent part of Valentines Day with my Mother, at the cemetery. We were visiting my Father’s grave.

That’s love.

gravemarker

Not only that, but right now my wife and daughter are doing the same thing with my father-in-law, at a different cemetery in Irving.
That’s love too.

Love is not freakin’ chocolates and roses….and O. My. God!!!
….I even wrote a song about this that I SOOOO wish I could play for you right now….

But would you, Miss Cashier,  possibly understand?

These stupid little presents? Chocolates and roses…and the insanely small difference between long and short stems? None of this matters!

The day-after-day, year-after-year commitment that eventually leads you to watch someone you love spend a part of their Valentine’s Day in a cemetery?

That’s love…”

This is what I wanted to say to her…

But I thought, she’s working at freakin’ “Central Market” on Valentine’s Day.

Hell, maybe she doesn’t have anybody to bring her long or short stemmed roses. I don’t know anything about her. I don’t why she’d throw down such judgmental comment to a complete stranger. Why make a scene? You know what you know…that’s enough.

“Kum Ba Yah, Eric. Kum Ba Yah….”

So, I said nothing.

I just shot her a smile, so she’d know she’d been heard. I punched in my PIN number. I took my items, came home, and waited for my daughter and wife to return from their cemetery visit.

And that woulda been enough of a story to write you today.

But as it turns out, when we opened our Valentine’s Day cards a few minutes later, Dennise burst into laughter. I did too about a second later.

Then we gave each other a hug and a kiss. And she went off to watch TV, and I went to take my usual Sunday afternoon nap.

We shared that laugh and kiss because, out of the dozens and dozens of cards –at the separate stores we shopped today– here are the ones we picked out for each other…

VAlentinesCards

I’m telling you, you can’t make any of this stuff up.

And you surely can’t explain it to the cashier at Central Market.

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He has been Senior Pastor of Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas since 2001. During his tenure, church membership has grown almost 30 percent, and a completely new church facility (sanctuary and education building) has been constructed. Northaven is a leading progressive Christian congregation in the Southwest. Northaven is an eclectic collection of gay and straight families, artists, musicians, theater folks, academic theologians, lawyers and judges (go figure), socially conscious community activists, people who don't "check their brain at the door," and a wide array of others who either see it as their "last chance" inside the "institutional church," or their first trip back in decades. Eric is an avid blogger and published author.  Eric is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, who performs throughout Texas and the Southwest. He's an engaging live performer whose first CD was released in 2000. His songs have won honorable mention in both the Billboard and Great American song contests; and he's been a finalist in the 5th Street Festival and South Florida Folk Festival songwriter competitions. Eric is also a leader of Connections, a unique band comprised of United Methodist clergy and layfolk from throughout North Texas. Connections performs "cover shows" of artists like Dan Fogelberg, Chicago, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor and others. Their shows draw crowds of between 300 and 1,000 fans, and they have raised more than $240,000 dollars for worthy charities. Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He's a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named "best judge" by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County. She was re-elected for a third term in 2010. They have the world's best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. (As always, if you like this post, then "like" this on Facebook by clicking the box below, so others can see too...)

3 thoughts on “This Valentine’s Day

  1. That’s fabulous about the card. You are so right about love. For over a year now, Stephen has pretty much waited on me hand and foot taking me to appointments, keeping our calendar straight, doing the cooking, laundry, and usually bringing meals to me in bed. I am just now getting to where I can help out a little now and then. I am truly overwhelmed with everything he has done. That’s love.

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