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Monday, February 14, 2011

My Valentine

Valentine’s Day, Thursday, 14 February 2002.

Yes, 2002. That was a very significant day in our little household.

    As an historian, I suppose I should have started at least as early as 1382, when Geoffrey Chaucer wrote:

       For this was on seynt Volantynys day -
       Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.

    ["For this was sent on Saint Valentine's Day, 
    when every bird cometh there to choose his mate."]

    Well, I hope that’s what it means, but it also looks like it could be about cheese-making, which isn’t half so romantic.

    But 2002 will do. ‘Chesing a make’ was different in 1382, I suspect, even if making out had the same basic formula. Gosh, I hope it’s 2002, but I could be a year out, and if it were 2001 then I’ve missed a ten year anniversary and have sadly blown it in the romance stakes. My beloved lies sleeping – not unreasonably, at 6 am on Monday, 14 February 2011 - so I can’t check that date with her. I’ve been awake for a while – since about 4 am or so. It happens.

Booloominbah, UNE.
    Anyway, on that day nine [or so!]* years ago, Tracey and I were having lunch in the private dining room at Booloominbah. ‘Bool’ is the elegant mansion which now houses the Vice Chancellor’s offices and the Booloominbah Collection. The latter is a restaurant that I rather hope helps to finance the university’s academic pursuits, but I can’t be too certain of that. Let’s stick with romance anyway....

    All those years ago, I proposed marriage to Tracey Rose James at this luncheon on that day, and she accepted my proposal. It was not entirely a surprise to her, as we had together chosen the ring some time before, and it is a beautiful engagement ring if I may say so. Not that I discovered it; I am not that clever or discerning – but it has a cluster of seven fine diamonds, seven being Tracey’s lucky number. Let’s just say it was discovered, acquired, and on that day was for the first time slipped on the third finger of my beloved’s left hand.
Engagement/wedding rings!

    Little did we know that that same engagement ring would become the official wedding ring – the real one with which I her wed. It wasn’t because there was not a traditional wedding ring or the Best Man had forgotten it - there was – and a beautiful ring it is too. But when it came to the part of the wedding ceremony to place the wedding ring on the bride’s finger, it had been there so long that it wouldn’t come off to be slipped back on (not without some serious surgery anyway, either to the finger or the wedding ring, and we decided against either procedure.) So, this engagement ring is very symbolic of our whole life together.

    Marriage is not something to be taken lightly, as many know very well and those who don’t probably will at some stage. Eight years and 154 days after our Booloominbah date, on 4 July 2010, we got married. It’s very wise to have anniversaries of the joyful type on dates that are easily remembered, and I thank my American friends for making the marriage date stick in memory.

    We weren’t actually going for the record for the world’s longest engagement, but as you see we didn’t rush into the marriage bit of it. We had our reasons and you can guess at them if you like, but I will neither confirm nor deny your speculations on this matter if you have any, which you probably don’t.  It’s just good to be sure about such things before taking the plunge.

    May there be red roses on your table on Monday, 14 February 2011, either literally or metaphorically. In this day and age I realise not everyone needs to ‘chese a make’ or is passionately interested in doing so right now.

    But this year there are real red roses on ours. Thank you, beloved. There's only one reason they are there for us to share.


  1. 27 years ago, Carl and I left Canada on Feb 13. We arrived in Oz, on the following day, Feb 15. We always lament that loss of one Valentine's Day.

    So today we are also celebrating, in a way. 27 years in Oz minus a day.

    Have a lovely, loving Valentine's Day, and anniversary celebration.

    Blessed be the cheese makers (for all you Monty Python fans).

  2. When the time's right, the time's right.
    Them wedding bells just have to wait.

  3. The International Date Line has much to answer for!
    Love the Python comment - I had completely forgotten it....
    Thanks for the good wishes and they are returned to you both with full measure.
    I figured here wasn't the place for a dig at crass commercialism and the fact that the whole world is not composed entirely of couples or would-be couples. I'm sure, though, with a little ingenuity, the shops could market a day for singles to give other singles mountains of expensive chocolates.
    DJH - so true! And the pealing of the bells comes sometimes when least expected.

  4. I think that's beautiful, to have such memories and remembered dates and occasions. Michael and I are more of the 'we're together and that's that!' school, and every now and then a day or a moment happens that is, for some reason, magic. Otherwise, I guess each day is a Valentine's day of constant unquestioning love, companionship, support, mutual understanding and a healthy dose of bickering:)

  5. Happy Valentines Day to you both, as a Mother-in-Law I must approve of her choice. As a Person-Without-label I am very happy with her choice and love you unreservedly. XXXOOOXXX

  6. Julie: you are describing something just as special as what I was. Insecure relationships are the silent, unequal ones, unlike yours [J & M] and ours [T & D]. Lena: many thanks and much love to you too for being there when and where you were most needed. Valentine roses to you as well. I am not sure what a person without label really is, but you are surely not a person without meaning in many people's lives.

  7. * yes, it WAS 2002, by the way. You were all dying to know, I'm sure.

  8. Ah, that was clever of you, choosing such memorable dates. We did well for the proposal date (the 25th Dec!) but as for the wedding date, a quick scan of the web suggests that we picked another somewhat less notable American festive day, Johnny Appleseed Day! Didn't know there was one, but reading about him I don't think it was such a bad choice after all - Johnny Appleseed "became an American legend while still alive, largely because of his kind and generous ways, his great leadership in conservation, and the symbolic importance he attributed to apples." :-) Going to munch on a nice fresh organic apple now to celebrate discovering that fact. :-)


  9. Scott: well done with the choice of dates! Well, it seems your wedding date is Sept 26. Or March 11 – or do you celebrate twice a year? ☺ Why not? Great idea! I hope all is well with you – and that you are enjoying a little of Sei Shonagon. I better put some more lists up! Where are you getting your organic apples from?

  10. Well Den, that is interesting.... and Mum is going to fall off her chair when she reads this, but ours is the 11th March, and...... Mum and Dads is the 26th Sept!!! Now that is just a little freaky don't you think. :-) It just confirms my belief in the interconnectedness of all things. ;-) And yes, more lists please, I've been enjoying the quirky ones and am somewhat moved to start some lists of my own.... like my favourite things that are the same colour as 6.4 on a pH indicator scale, the lengths of time I need to hold my breath when negotiating the perfume section when entering various evil department stores, or the names of books I can borrow a second time from the library by mistake, but still enjoy reading again. (Ok, so Sei Shonagon’s lists are a little more intriguing, but I'll work on it, ok! And I've been to the 'Tale of Genji' museum in Uji, so I believe I'm excused from having to read the whole thing - epic is a good word for it!!) As for the apples, we get ours direct from the small regional farmers in our weekly Food Connect box. Search for "Community Supported Agriculture", its a great way to stick it to Cole$ and Woollie$ for driving so many independent farmers off the land. :-) Thats another story, but I think Johnny Appleseed might just approve. ;-) Take care Den.

  11. Definitely freaky, Scotto - and of course all things are interconnected - but that's quite a link. A litmus test of interconnectedness wouldn't you say? :) 7.1 on the pH indicator is nice....
    Would love to see the Genji Museum - it must house some fantastic relics. I wonder if the two ladies are there, looking daggers at each other? (SS and MS I mean). Lovely Mayumi should read Genji to you in Japanese as a bedtime story. I keep hearing these wonderful tales of Mayumi's cooking!
    Stay with Johnny Appleseed foods otherwise. Just stay away from George Bush scrambled eggs.


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