Love is in the air; at least it better be by Monday (Valentine’s Day) or we’ll have another cold snap, if you know what I mean. To quote an unknown source, “If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”

            Some people need a helpful hint when it comes to   holidays—major ones being OUR 55th ANNIVERSARY in June (Hint, Hint). I’ve learned to take Cupid by the bow, so to speak, and drop romantic suggestions lest it get overlooked by someone named Binmeister who claims to have a photographic memory, but as the saying goes, is out of film!           

            Valentine’s Day is No. 2 after Christmas in the card sending holidays. The tradition is based on the legend of a priest named Valentine. In 270 A.D., Emperor Claudius banned weddings, because his soldiers didn’t want to leave their wives to go to war. Valentine defied the ban and performed secret weddings. When Claudius found out, he imprisoned Valentine and sentenced him to death. However, before his execution the priest sent a love note to the jailer’s daughter thanking her for bringing him food. He signed it “from your Valentine.” Later Christian priests changed the February pagan feast Lupercalia to St. Valentine’s Day.

              The traditional day of love grew in popularity in the 1700s when folks started sending flowers and cards to loved ones. Esther Howland made the first commercial Valentines in America in the 1840s. She handcrafted them with ribbon, lace and pictures. In 1913, the first commercially printed Valentines were sold by Hallmark. Today more than 150 million Valentine’s Day cards are sold, but now many people send thoughts of love, such as “Roses R red, violets R blue; sugar is sweet & U R 2, via the internet, Facebook and Twitter.

The rhymes range from humorous—Roses are red, violets are blue, wine costs less than dinner for two—to snarky, Roses are red, violets are blue, skunks stink and so do you. They also can be used to segue from one subject to another—Roses are red, violets are blue. Binmeister likes gardening and Ponte Vedra Scout troops do too.”   

*The Final Word… The popular “Roses are Red, violets are blue” poems and jokes can be traced back to 1590 in a rhyme from Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene. He wrote: “It was upon a Sommers shynie day, when Titan faire his beams did display, in a fresh fountaine, farre from all men’s vew, she bath’d her brest, the boiling heat t’allay’ She bath’d with roses red and violets blew, and all the sweetest flowers, that in the forrest grew.”,

Today’s versions of the popular poems are not as lyrical, but have evolved to suit the times. For example, “Roses are red, Facebook is blue, your phone is smart, so why aren’t you.” Or the slightly kinder: Roses are red Violets are blue, these jokes are getting old and me too.”