It’s Valentine’s Day, and I’m the guy who’s always ready at the last minute.
I like to let Pat wonder all day if I remembered. When I finally come through, I surprise her.
This year is a little tougher. In addition to putting together a surprise, I need to go to Ash Wednesday service somewhere.
Pat and I usually go together for ashes, but our schedules are all messed up. She starts work at 8 a.m. So she needs to find her own place in the evening. I start at noon and finish at 9 p.m. I have go in the morning.
I still don’t have an idea what I’m doing for Valentine’s. Because of our schedules, we went to a Valentine’s movie and dinner Sunday.
I thought I was going to get away with that, but when I said: Well, we got
Valentine’s out of the way, she said: “No we didn’t.”
That meant: “I am still expecting some kind of a gift.”
I knew that, of course, ever since we were married. If they made more holidays that favor women, she’d want that many more gifts.
I paid dearly the one time I forgot. It was her first birthday after we were married. We lived in the Outlook area.
On Nov. 8, I completely forgot it was her birthday. She kept looking for her cake, her gift, perhaps a dinner, but didn’t say a thing. I remembered the next day when she started to accost me verbally for forgetting. I said I was sorry as many ways as I could, but to this day, she has not forgotten that I forgot.
I squared things up with her a year later the night of Nov. 7.
Pat fell asleep watching TV and, at about 11:30 p.m. I slipped out of bed and out of the house to buy a pizza in Sunnyside. I already had a cake and flowering plant in the car.
When I came back, Pat was still sleeping soundly. I placed everything on the table and woke her up right when the clock struck midnight.
Rubbing her eyes, she asked: “What, what’s going on?”
I sat her down and sang Happy Birthday and swore I would never forget her birthday again. Ever since that time, I’ve wanted every occasion and every gift to be a surprise.
Pat and I were married in my family home’s front yard
in the summer of 1974 by a Presbyterian minister. I was Catholic. She was Nazarene.
Pat became Catholic on Easter of 1997, and we decided to have a second wedding in the Catholic Church.
This was at St. Aloysius in Toppenish, where Father John Shaw was presiding. He was one of the nicest people. Everybody liked him.
He and his brother Bill, also a priest, used to bike all over town making their rounds. The priesthood was perfect for these two.
All of their lives, they were like country bumpkins. Father Shaw had at least one good folksy joke in his homilies.
When we talked to Father John about getting married in the church, he was excited. There was some instruction we needed to take, from him.
Somewhere in there, we
learned Father John was an old
romantic. When we asked what Saturday dates were available, he said he had reserved Feb. 14, 1998 for us.
But isn’t that Valentine’s Day, I asked. “Yes,” he said. “That’s the perfect day for promising your love to each other.”
Not many couples can say their kids attended their wedding, but ours did.
So, every year Pat and I celebrate two wedding anniversaries. Today it’s going to be tough, though.
I’ll be asleep when Pat goes to work. She’ll be asleep when I get home from work.
However, I am not allowed to forget. Wish me luck. I have just a few hours to come up with a surprise.
— Ted Escobar is the managing editor of The Daily Sun. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.