WOSTER: Valentine’s: Time to procrastinate againNancy and I had our first actual date — the kind where a guy calls a girl’s house, talks his way past her mother and then stammers out an invitation to a movie while the girl waits patiently for a pause in the halting monologue so she can say “sure” — on March 12, 1961.
By: Terry Woster, The Daily Republic
Nancy and I had our first actual date — the kind where a guy calls a girl’s house, talks his way past her mother and then stammers out an invitation to a movie while the girl waits patiently for a pause in the halting monologue so she can say “sure” — on March 12, 1961.
I mention that today because I was just thinking how lucky I’ve been. Well, of course because she said she’d go with me, but also because it was March 12, not Feb. 12. Had it been Feb. 12, it would have been two days before Valentine’s Day. As it was, I didn’t start worrying about what to get her for Valentine’s Day until 1962, so I’ve only been baffled by the upcoming holiday and the best way to handle it for 50 years. It could be worse, in other words.
I’m just not that good at Valentine’s Day. I’ve written about that before. I’m not sure why. I just always manage to put it off until the last minute and then find myself in line with a lot of other guys who did the same thing and who are just as panicked as I am about finding something. When guys like that talk about finding something, what they mean is anything at all except that it has to look a little bit like it was ordered three months ago, stored in the back of the closet out of sight until the evening before the big day, then lovingly wrapped in hearts-andflowers paper and tied with a huge red or pink bow and accompanied by a couple of dozen red roses. Some of the new superstores are pretty good, but they aren’t that good.
For many years, the South Dakota Legislature was my excuse for last-minute Valentine’s Day mishaps. From 1970 through 2009, I worked as a newspaper guy during the annual lawmaking session. The days start early and end late. It’s tough to get away. And on weekends, when there is some down time, there are leaks to fix (or make worse, as sometimes happens when I do the plumbing), wallpaper to hang (Nancy always got kind of bored with my long session hours and thought up do-it-yourself home improvement projects to fill the weekend hours) and snow to shovel. If I was late getting to the store, who could blame me?
One session, I didn’t get there at all, so I created what I thought was a pretty unique Valentine’s Day card. I had a print of a photograph of a bunch of the legislative reporters hanging around the press box in one house or the other. There were half a dozen of us — Tom Slaughter from AP, Rich Mueller from KELO, Earl Flowers from UPI, Tim Schreiner from the Volante (I think he was still in college then), and maybe a couple of others. We were all mugging for the camera like the last-call crowd at the Y’all Come Back Saloon. I cut a heart out of red construction paper, pasted it to the edge of the photo and wrote across the bottom in my best cursive style, “May all your sessions be short. Happy Valentine’s Day.”
You’ll have to trust me on this: That idea wasn’t as great in its execution as it sounds in the paragraph above.
Now, Valentine’s Day around the Legislature is an interesting time. Virtually every elected senator or representative receives at least one bouquet of flowers during the day. I’ve never been sure who sends the flowers. I just know they arrive by the delivery van load all day long. A couple of times during my reporting years, I was heading from the Press Room on first floor up toward the legislative floors when a delivery kid showed up. I tried several times, but never once did I find one who followed directions when I said, “Oh, those go to the desk in the press room right back in the corner there.” (My plan was to walk back in, find the bouquet and take it home to Nancy.)
Well, that’s my Valentine’s Day tale. And now I really must head to the store and find the “Looks like you ordered it three months ago” aisle.