FLOYD INGRAM: This thing called love

By FLOYD INGRAM / THE PRESS REGISTER,

Sara and I will exchange Valentine cards tomorrow with a tradition and certainty that only lovers of 31 years understand.

I’ll put hers on the kitchen table propped up by a little something sweet, shiny or with the appropriate red bloom. She has always stuck mine on the mirror in our bathroom.

We’ll find them on Valentine morning and smile as we use sleepy fingers to tear them open. We’ll read the syrupy sweet word that sold that card and the personal note penned in our own hand.

I’ll be glad I found Sara. I just always hope and pray she is just as happy she found me.

Love in any culture

• Valentine’s Day has a different twist in Japan. Tradition holds that only women buy Valentine chocolates for their beaus. In fact, it is the only day of the year where women can reveal their crush on a man by giving him chocolate. The men don’t return the favor until White Day, a type of “answer day” to Valentine’s Day, which is on March 14.

• Valentine’s Day is a $14.7 billion industry in the U.S. In our capitalistic society, we will see the price for a dozen rose quadruple for the five day span covering Feb. 14.

• Valentine’s Day may have been named after Valentine of Terni, a priest who married Roman soldiers to local women against orders from Claudius II. He was arrested and killed on Feb. 14 in the year 269. It is said that an almond tree near his grave burst with pink flowers and all the birds chose mates, hence the term “love birds.”

• Teachers receive the most Valentine’s cards, followed by children, mothers and wives. Children between the ages of 6-10 exchange more than 650 million Valentine cards a year.

• Traditionally, young girls in the U.S. and the U.K. believed they could tell what type of man they would marry depending on the type of bird they saw first on Valentine’s Day. If they saw a blackbird, they would marry a clergyman, a robin indicated a sailor, and a goldfinch indicated a rich man. A sparrow meant they would marry a farmer, a blue bird indicated a happy man and a redbird meant an argumentative man. If they saw a dove, they would marry a good man, but seeing a woodpecker meant they would not marry at all. Sara has said she saw a bluejay and married a loud and proud newspaper man.

• Valentine’s Day has been banned in Iran as a pagan holiday. It was deemed a day of lust that focused on satisfying “sexual thirst.” Hallelujah for Western Culture!

• People say they love their car, love their house and love fried chicken. I’ve always felt we are a little too liberal with our use of the love word and need to mean what we say. Can you really love something that doesn’t love you back?

Love is . . .

There is tremendous discussion in our world today about love. We all want it. We all need it.

The way I understand it, Muslim culture teaches love for other Muslims, but their actions toward other Muslims in the Middle East right now has me scratching my head.

Christian culture teaches love for all . . . I struggle with that one, too.

I do believe love of a man for a woman and a woman for a man is the definition of marriage and will be glad to point to scripture and parts on a man and woman that prove it.

I read something in a Chicago paper last week where today’s young, educated, upwardly mobile men and women are “forgoing” marriage and deciding to have “fluid relationships without the trappings and legality of marriage.” I smiled as I thought of the country folk who have been “shacking up” in the Mississippi Delta for decades. And they call us backwards!

Love of family

I also want to point out Sara and I have four boys created by love.

Two have graduated from college. Two have good jobs. One is engaged and one, if he is not looking for a wife, one is looking for him.

My Number Two Son has had girlfriends, but apparently is in a dry spell. “I don’t have to buy anything this time!” he said over the phone this week. Jacob is always the one who looks on the bright side and he has always made me laugh.

Daniel will smile as he carries a Valentine to Momma and will certainly get a card and something sweet from Sara. He does not share those chocolates with me. Love is sweet and very personal.

My youngest college boy, James, is careful about “girl talk” in front of dad because . . . well, it’s serious stuff to him and dad is known to tease.

And like I said earlier, Sara and I will give gifts, giggle and laugh like a couple of teenagers as we remember our life together and try to make Feb. 14 a special day for the one we love.

So go to the flower shop, stop by the candy aisle at the local supermarket and pick up a card at the drug store. Just make sure you tell someone you love them on Valentine’s Day.

Floyd Ingram is the Editor of your Clarksdale Press Register and he loves his his family, his friends and life in general. He loves it when people call him at 662-627-2201.

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