To be honest, I am a loather of Valentine's Day. I've never been fond of the commercial contrivance that it represents (damn you, Hallmark!). But, I do love love, dear friend. With your kind indulgence, a few random thoughts on the various iterations of amore:
- I love a good suit, well-made, and not ill-fitting. Nothing like a good suit. Makes one feel good. Solid. Confident. Yup, the sartorial side of me loves a good suit.
- Of course, I love my sons (gawd, I love those kids), and my parents who are approaching 80, and I especially love my brothers (all six of 'em) and the friends I am blessed to have. I am a lover, when I'm not being a jerk.
- Romantic love: I guess you could say it's the first thought that popped into the first person's dumbstruck mind on our planet when he saw the second person on this big blue ball (who just happened to be a woman) sashaying toward him: "Oh, there you are ... and look at you!" It's a perfect joining of two halved people who didn't know they weren't whole. Once complete it sure is tough to be without this thing called love. Can I get a witness?!
- Love of puppies and kittens is great until they grow into big stinky fur balls leaving messes for us (their humans) to clean up. But then puppy love becomes love of big lovable dogs and cats that greet us at the door, and lick our faces and sleep on our pillows (and our heads), and patrol the rooms of our children and our backyards looking for unwanted interlopers or scraps from the day's BBQ. You know this love is real when these furry family members leave us after 3 or 7 or 16 years, and all that's left is a big hole where only unconditional love for us once sat on a doorstep sleeping that wonderful afternoon nap until it heard us driving up the street, setting its tail wagging once again. This is a shout-out to all my bitches, like, "Patch," and "Punkin", and rapscallions "Mr. Beeb" and "R.D."
- Love of music is, well, it's the soundtrack of our lives. Name a tune from the last 10 or 30 years and it makes you feel exactly what you were feeling once upon a disco or hip-hop or jazz time. Music rocks our lives and gives us a push when we're driving home at night. It helps us clean the house on Saturday morning, and it makes baking cookies in the winter all the more enjoyable when Ella sings "Oh, the weather outside is frightful" for me with that certain swing. Music sets a mood with a certain lighting and a certain couch or back seat and a caress and a nibble. No wonder our parents' parents hated rock-n-roll or R&B or northern soul. Hearing losses be damned, music makes life better. I SAID, ...!
- Love is: driving your own car to follow your girlfriend in her car to make sure she makes it all the way back home safe and sound at 2am.
- Love is: giving your daughter your ice cream cone (the one you reallllllly wanted) after she dropped hers on the sand at the beach. I witnessed this first-hand recently. Very sweet. And, soon tears and boogies and a messy face were all cleaned up and chubby little hands were once again holding that frozen goodness that makes all babies cry for more when it's all gone.
- Love is: giving in to the temptation to falling in love again. And, again.
- I love a great film, the kind of film that surprises you, and makes you hold the hand of the person you're with 'cuz you're just all of a sudden happy. Er, sorry about that, Bob and Joel.
- And, don't get me started on books. Man, I loves me some books. But, you know what I love even more than a great book. I love the fact that (apologies to Strunk and White) both of my boys love to read. It is an absolute joy to behold my sons lugging around a copy of whatever in the car, or to church, or to their uncle's, just tearing up page after page of their latest wonderment.
As Louis Armstrong opined long ago, what a wonderful world we live in. Don't you think, even when things are total bollocks, this life gives us a terrific place to find something to love. Everyday is a good day, indeed, to remind us to appreciate the agape-ness of it all.