Janet McCanless column: My kind of valentine

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 6, 2007

By Janet McCanless

For The Salisbury Post

I threw out my 2005 dayplanner today and then realized it’s already 2007. Not just 2007, but, prit’ner Valentine’s day. I used to hear the old timers tell one another how fast time went, and the older you are, the faster it goes, it seems. I’m reminded of that ancient humorous saying: “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.” Truer words were never spoken.

If someone had told me many years ago, when I was just a youngster, that by the year 2007 I would have a spouse of 41 years, three children, seven grandchildren, and be in possession of a foreign car and a computer, I would have questioned their sanity — I never thought I’d live this long! If I had, I would have surely taken better care of myself.

Here it is, almost Valentine’s Day. Times sure change. When I was newly married, I expected the spouse to come through the door with candy, flowers and the most expensive card he could find. Now if he did that, I’d wonder what he had been up to!

My Valentine’s wishes certainly have changed throughout the years. What constitutes a good day, a valentine to me if you will, is not anything like it used to be.

If I get up in the morning, it’s a good day. If I get in line behind someone who is NOT having a problem or trying to purchase a postage stamp with their payroll check, it’s a good day. If I can converse with a live human being on the other end of my phone inquiry, it’s definitely a good day! Not spilling anything on my clothes also means I’m having a wonderful time.

If, just once, someone answers my question without telling me to log on to some remote Web site, it makes me extremely happy. Same way with buying something from the local store. Don’t ask me if that is all; if it weren’t, I’d be buying something else, for Pete’s sake!

When our younger son needed new pants, I used to have an awful time ordering them for him because he was so tall. I’d have to order from a catalog, as that was the only way I could find a pair of pants with a 36-inch inseam. There I’d be, calling the order in, and the clerk would gasp every time I ordered that inseam, and they always wanted to know if I knew what I was doing. Did I know how long those pants were going to be? I always countered with a question to them: Did they know how tall my son was?

I have cousins who have a rather unusual, for this part of the country anyway, last name. Lots of consonants in it, and invariably, someone will tell my cousin Diane that such a name doesn’t exist. Must be the same person who swears to me my last name has a “d” in it.

I remember the Valentine’s Day I bought a wheelbarrow for my husband. He needed a wheelbarrow, and I figured it would do him more good than a mushy card. I’ll never forget the clerk telling me it wasn’t appropriate for Valentine’s Day and I shouldn’t do it. It made me mad, and I told him that just because he made that nasty remark to me, I’d buy a stepladder, too!

This Feb. 14, as a favor to me, a special gift, if you will, I want my bank teller NOT to ask me if I have an account with them when I make a deposit. You don’t suppose the bank thinks I go around putting money in other people’s accounts for fun, do you? I want the store clerks to NOT ask me if there will be anything else, and I want the sweet young thing behind the counter to realize that when I pay for something, I’ve used American money, it isn’t some strange coinage, and I’d like my change the same way, and quickly.

I’m really not the curmudgeon I seem in this column; it’s just that when you’ve lived for some time, a few little courtesies and niceties seem important. I am, after all, a “seasoned” citizen.

Valentine’s Day, to me, seems like a good time to be nice to someone, not just give them a card. There’s no substitute for love and respect — you can’t find that at the card shop!