My partner, Sherry, and I met a couple on our short Valentine’s Day trip who referred to themselves as Anti-Valentine’s Day folks but here they were, inadvertently caught up in the holiday. I have just the opposite feeling. I like to seize upon every holiday – though most are always overworked and abused – as an excuse to celebrate my love for myself and others, for all the wonderful connections we in our humaness can share with one another, relationships which are authentic and constructive even in the midst of all the hyperbole.
I, of course, did not have to start out the trip by presenting Sherry with a dozen red roses (thus supporting the gigantic floral industry), but I chose to as a way (not the only way) of expressing my profound love for her. We could have stayed home and saved gas, too, but it was my idea to travel the short distance from Anacortes to Coupeville and take the Keystone ferry to Port Townsend. There were many overnight accommodations to chose from. I happily selected the Ravenscroft Inn, a superb Bed and Breakfast beautifully situated on the cliffs overlooking Water Street, Port Townsend’s main drag. There, moving between sea level and seascape, we enjoyed a quality 24 hours, most all of it geared to the Valentine’s Day theme. The restaurant, The Silverwater Cafe, had a special Valentine menu. My partner’s selection was referred to as “Tying Knots” which was a combination of king and coho salmon baked together. My rack of lamb was similarly named. We shared a dessert adding our two cents to love’s annual call.
Earlier we had been lucky enough to secure the last two tickets to “Shakespeare in Love” at the Rose Theater next door. After dinner we went immediately upstairs to join about 35 other movie goers, all of whom were lounging comfortably in soft sofas and overstuffed chairs, enjoying after-dinner drinks and other foods directly from our restaurant’s kitchen. Sherry and I grabbed the last small sofa, and with a bowl of popcorn between us, and settled in for a delightful couple of hours. To top off the Valentine ambience, the Innkeeper had left a half-bottle of champagne in an ice bucket in our room. So upon our return, Sherry and I saluted the special time with fluted glasses lifted and, in between, nibbled on two large, fresh strawberries dipped in dark chocolate.
The large, soft, four-poster king-sized bed and the large gas-fired fireplace completed our Valentine day immersion. Holding Sherry quietly in my arms, I concluded that I could not have invented a better way to celebrate our love for each other than through this conventional means. It helped me tell her, my beloved, what I wanted her to know. One day, set aside, to focus on us in particular. I plan already to return to Port Townsend next year for a repeat performance. In the end, I don’t really care about who benefits commercially from the exploitation, such as it is. What I care about is what it conveys to Sherry, my life partner, about me and my feelings toward her.