Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Valentine Legend...

photo credit:

It was a cold and frosty night.  As midnight came and went, I retired to a guest room in the home of a stranger.  I was attending the wedding of my best friend's daughter.  It was being held at the ranch of her future in-laws, and the out-of-town guests were given lovely rooms in either the beautiful main house, or one of the guest houses.  Each room was generously gifted with a box of Godiva chocolates much like the one with a big red a thank you for attending and a reminder of the romance of the occasion.

I had recently committed to a healthy eating plan, and I tried very hard to ignore this beautiful gold box.  But I was wide awake, and feeling a little nervous, and missing my friend, and aching for her girls who I knew were missing her too.  And the box was whispering my name.  So I decided to have just one piece of chocolate.

I carefully slid the red silk ribbon off of the box, wanting to be able to replace it to slow the slide down the slippery slope to a second piece, or even a third.  I lifted the top off of the box.  There inside, atop the delicate lining paper, was a small red envelope.  I'm imagining that it is a promotional offer of some kind, but I'm trying to prolong the gorgeous moment of mouth-watering expectation, so I open the envelope and remove a card.

It says, "Congratulations.  You are a first prize winner in the 2004 Godiva Valentine's Day giveaway...a five-day vacation for two at a Westin Hotel in the European city of your choice."

I look at it for a long time.  I read the small print.  I put the card back in the box, and I replace the ribbon exactly as it was.  And then I put the box in my suitcase and zip it closed.

I wake early the next morning.  I go downstairs.  The bride is up and in the kitchen looking out the window.  It had snowed overnight, and she sings Nice Day For A White Wedding in her best Billy Idol voice.  I smile.

The wedding is beautiful.  I cry.  I drink champagne.  I talk to grandparents and aunt and friends.  And I say nothing.  I imagine saying something.  Wonder how to word it.  But I am sure that if I do, someone who is more accustomed to opening expensive chocolates will smile benignly, and think that the poor little rube is fooled by a publicity ploy...a mass printed check made out to 'your name here' if you will.  And I don't want to ruin the memory of the beautiful day with an embarrassing gaffe.

At the end of the day, I drive the sweet little sister of the bride (whose red hair always brings to mind the day I gazed at it first through the hospital nursery window on the day she was born) back to her college dorm near my home.  And still I say nothing, because by this time I know that it cannot possibly be real.

When I finally walk in my own house, I greet my husband.  Give him a few highlights of the wedding.  And seclude myself in my office.  I go to the Godiva website and look for information on a giveaway. 

And there it is.  Grand Prize is a car...a BMW I believe.  And one hundred first prizes (or was it fifty?)...five-day vacation for two at a Westin Hotel in the European city of your choice. 

Holy. Crap.

It was real.  I took my sister.  We signed affidavits and releases.  We applied for passports.  We chose Dublin, Ireland as our of our ancestors. 

I still feel guilt over the fact that I probably should have gifted the trip to the bride and groom, but honestly I had already mentioned it to my sister before I thought of that and I think it would have broken her heart.

And there it is.  A Valentine legend that will not be topped in my lifetime.

Happy Valentine's Day to all.  And to all a goodnight.

(Oh, and I did get around to telling the bride. She couldn't have been sweeter or more excited for me to take the trip. It is a legend in the retelling of the wedding story for her and her husband too.)



  1. So how many years ago was this? And did you eat the chocolates?

  2. Lynne, it was eight years ago. 2004.

    Niki, exciting squared!

  3. Oh, and yes, I did eat the chocolates eventually. :)

  4. ohemgee! what a great experience and trip of a lifetime!


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