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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Valentine Legend...


photo credit: glamour.com

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 above...gold with a big red bow...as 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 destination...land 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.)

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6 comments:

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

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

    Niki, exciting squared!

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

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

    ReplyDelete

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