by Kathy Collins
Listen to this column read aloud in pidgin:
I raddah have candy: howz about you?
No get me wrong, not like I no appreciate flowahs an’ poatry an’ romantic-kine stuffs li’dat. But us titas, we not exackly famous fo’ getting all mushy.
Plus, I went grow up in one local Japanee house. “PDA” nevah stand fo’ Public Display of Affection; was mo’ like, “Put Dat Away!” My parents was married forty-five years, an’ in all dat time, I nevah did see dem kiss. But dat no mean dey no was happy. In fack, of all da couples I know, dey was da mos’ in love. Dey jus’ nevah show ‘em on da outside. Not even on Valentine’s Day.
Small-kid time, Valentine’s Day was when our maddahs would take us Ben Franklin or Craft’s Drugs fo’ buy one big box valentine cards, an’ make us sign ev’ry one, fo’ da whole class, even da guys you no like. We would get special ones fo’ our bes’ friends and fo’ da teachah, plus Hershey’s Kisses an’ da kine candy hearts wit’ da words on top dat taste like chalk, and—if you lucky—one Whitman’s Samplah Heart.
In school, we would make red construction-pepa valentines fo’ take home to our parents. Mines was always lumpy from too much paste on top da doily. But my faddah always said was da nicest one he evah saw, an’ my maddah always put my lumpy heart on top da fridge fo’ show ev’rybody, an’ den my faddah would take us out fo’ dinnah an’ Dairy Queen aftahwards.
My first Valentine’s Day wit’ one real boyfriend was junior year in high school. I wen’ give him one humongous card an’ his fav’rite crack seed. He wen’ give me one line: “Babes, I nevah fo’get . . . wit’ us, ev’ry day is Valentine’s Day!” I made him take me Ooka’s fo’ buy my own Whitman’s Samplah—half price—an’ I wen’ eat ‘em all by myself.
Dass why now, when Valentine’s Day come around, I t’ink about mo’ sweets dan sweethearts. No boddah me if I no mo’ somebody special fo’ spend da day wit’. ‘Cause when you t’ink about ‘em, Valentine’s Day s’pose to be about love. An’ love is aloha. An’ aloha is what we s’pose to live ev’ryday, wit’ ev’rybody.
Come to t’ink of it, dass how my parents used to show their love—not wit’ kisses an’ cuddles, but by being there fo’ each odda, ev’ry single day. Like I said, I nevah did see dem kiss, but I nevah did see dem fight either. Not one time in forty-five years. I seen plenny of talk and respeck and acks of kindness, though.
So I guess my old boyfriend was right. Ev’ry day is Valentine’s Day. But no use dat as one excuse fo’ no buy nottin’ fo’ yo’ sweetheart. An’ if you no mo’ sweetheart . . . no sweat! Do like me; make da whole world yo’ valentine. And go eat some chocolate.