Valentine’s Day just happens to fall on the same day as this week’s edition. Accordingly, I want to first acknowledge the love and support of the most important person in the universe to me: my long suffering spouse. A consummate professional, a dedicated advocate for others and one of the most tender-hearted persons of any gender I’ve had the opportunity to know. Happy Valentine’s Day TQ!
Local companies Hallmark and Russell Stover (Disclosure: I’m not related to the Ward families who own the candy company) are modern purveyors and perpetrators of current day customs of cards, candy, etc.
The origins of this annual love fest are obscure. However, two years ago in a report for National Public Radio Arnie Siepel detailed one version of the observance’s dark origins:
“From Feb. 13 to 15, the Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia. The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain.”
“The Roman romantics ‘were drunk. They were naked,’ says Noel Lenski, a historian at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Young women would actually line up for the men to hit them, Lenski says. ‘They believed this would make them fertile.’”
As for me, it will be a sentimental card and chocolate-covered strawberries but no sacrificial animals or hide-whipping.
As I write this commentary (Tuesday), President Barack Obama is certainly reviewing his remarks for tonight’s State of the Union address to Congress and the American people. Actually, there are probably a half-dozen or so staff members who are helping the President carefully craft every verb, noun, adverb, adjective, etc. At our house a nearly 15-year-old young lady was also preparing for tonight’s debate tournament.
OK, what’s the deal with men and baseball caps, whether worn forward or backward? We recently visited a favorite Mexican restaurant for a Sunday late afternoon meal. The place was crowded and we were waiting for about 15 minutes for a table. Not a problem for me since the bar TVs were broadcasting college basketball, a personal favorite.
Once we were seated, a quick visual inventory of the men in the room revealed that 80 percent (OK, that’s a guess) were wearing ball caps. Inside. At a restaurant. Mostly dirty or well worn. What’s happened to dining decorum? Common courtesy?
When I was in the Navy, any man who entered a Navy club or bar with his hat on was quickly harangued by the ringing of a bar-side ship’s bell…and the obligation to “buy the house a round!”
Here’s a vote to continue that tradition to civilian establishments!
Richard Ward is the publisher of the Wyandotte Daily News.