Gary’s February Gems – The Sweetheart Edition
T.S. Eliot said in The Wasteland that April was the cruellest month. He was depressed when he wrote that. Fact.
April brings more light, more warmth and the first peek at perennials breaking through the last remnants of frozen ground. April is usually the month where Easter falls with all its symbols of renewal (and chocolate!).
In February, we’re in winter’s iron grip. The dream of a white Christmas is now a nightmare as white February snow transforms to a soupy mix of slush and gravel. To go anywhere we need to learn the penguin two-step to avoid slipping and spending a night in the ER.
February is the shortest month and the cruellest month. So, it’s not surprising that this would be the month that would celebrate cuddling and cooing. St. Valentines’s Day was set in February because, in the middles ages in Europe, it was believed that was when birds would choose their mates. Here, in Montreal, the only birds choosing mates are those circling their prey in bars on Crescent and St. Denis streets.
I find February much easier to endure due to several life-affecting events that I experienced by chance and by choice.
I was born by chance, on Valentine’s Day which could account for me being such a sweetheart. 😉
My mother called me her little Valentine baby. I received, on each birthday, a special Valentines heart-shaped cake that my mother would top with a tooth-chipping confectionary.
The cake was baked in my Grandmother’s special heart-shaped baking tin and though that specific tin had been lost after her death, I made it a point to find another and to continue my tradition of receiving a heart-shaped birthday cake – even if I have to make it myself. (Is that sad?)
My childhood Februaries weren’t all hearts and flowers. In my teens, Valentine’s Day coincided with my parent’s annual migration to Fort Lauderdale to escape winter, kids and work. I was disappointed of course at having to stay home and spend my birthday without them. It wasn’t until I reached my thirties that I discovered for myself the allure of sun, sand and sea in the middle of winter. I become a snowbird convert and gifted myself an annual trip to the sun since.
You’d be surprised by how many people I met who share my special birthday starting with my husband, Earl. Coincidence? It gets better.
Given we both share a birthday, 14 years after being together, we decided to get married on Valentine’s Day 2006 – the year after same-sex marriage became legal across Canada.
I know that you may think that I’m making this up, but it gets even better. Earl’s parents, my in-laws also got married on St, Valentine’s day. Earl made his world premiere on their 8th anniversary.
Fast forward many years, Earl and I discovered a little gem of a restaurant called Oxford Café through friends of ours. The owners are Iranian and we were told of their amazing Iranian pancakes … and amazing they are! (February is also Mari Gras Pancake Tuesday month.)
As chance would have it, one of the owners, Mohammed, was also born on Valentine’s Day! We had a good chuckle over the coincidence and the following February when we returned, we were served up heart-shaped Iranian pancakes!
You may be thinking at this point, “This guy must have a memory problem to celebrate everything on the same date.
Nope, no memory problem. Just efficient.
I wish you a wonderful Valentine’s, and if you do indulge on Mardi Gras, have a heart-shaped pancake for me.
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In case you missed last month’s Gems, you can check it out here: Gary Gems – January Ski and Contrition Edition