Any male who is married, or has been married, understands the importance of not forgetting to remember certain days – anniversaries, birthdays, Valentine’s Day.
Wives/partners don’t seem to forget your poor recollection of these milestone days. Forgetting takes the edge off the romance.
We were just a few months into our second year of marriage that February day. My partner had driven her little wine-coloured Anglia home early, leaving me to finish my city editor’s work and take the bus to our 174 Coteau Street East home.
While waiting for the bus in front of Kresge's, now Pharmasave, Yours Truly noticed a heart-shaped sign in the window promoting Valentine’s Day.
I shuddered, mumbling “Oh, shoot.” I plumb forgot. My family never paid much attention to Valentine’s Day, birthdays or anniversaries.
Kresge’s was an olden days’ version of today’s dollar store, known then as a five and 10 cent store from the days when a dollar still had some value.
Payday was two days off and I didn’t have much cash. There were no debit cards, credit cards or ATMs in those days.
Surely, I thought, Kresge’s would have something to fit my meagre budget.
First thought, look for the heart-shaped candies/chocolates. Sadly, all the inexpensive – she would say cheap – ones were sold. My budget couldn’t handle the plusher ones.
Then my eyes spied the perfect little gift – a small brown plastic wheelbarrow with plastic daisies inside. Better yet, it was marked down from $1.49 to less than a dollar. I figured they wanted to clear out the stock before Valentine’s Day.
I grabbed it and a card, paid, headed for the bus and home to our cozy rented green stucco house – $80 a month plus utilities that never exceeded $20 a month.
Those were the days with my pay a grand $125 weekly. She made about half that.
At home, I proudly presented the card and brown plastic wheelbarrow with plastic daisies to my partner/wife. She proclaimed how cute it was, then exclaimed “Look it’s broken. You bought me a broken present,” she laughed.
It was. The support on one side of the wheelbarrow had come off. In my rush to remember Valentine’s Day, the break went unnoticed.
She said it was still cute, as was my folly, and placed it on top of the fridge in plain sight where it stayed for a long, long time.
She never forgot that brown plastic wheelbarrow with plastic daisies and regularly teased me about my “inexpensive” broken Valentine’s Day gift. Years later she still talked about it.
Funny how attitudes change over nearly 50 years. The other night she suggested we just exchange cards, no gifts, this Valentine’s Day. Our bus trip would be our joint gift.
I agreed but am sure she will be disappointed ever so little with only a card. Wonder if the modern dollar stores have any broken plastic wheelbarrows with plastic daisies on sale?
Ron Walter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Moose Jaw Today, the Moose Jaw Express, its management, or its subsidiaries.