Not very much is known about St. Valentine. In fact, there may have been several of them, who were actually known as Valentus or, as the case may be, Valenti, in Roman times.
By TW McDermott
A Love By Any Other Name
Not very much is known about St. Valentine. In fact, there may have been several of them, who were actually known as Valentus or, as the case may be, Valenti, in Roman times. Apparently, it took a writer’s imagination to elevate this unsuspecting saint (who may not have actually been a saint), to patron of romantic love. Perhaps this was Chaucer’s penance for making so many of us try to understand his “Canterbury Tales” in high school, which have now been replaced, of course, by Kesey’s “Cuckoo’s Nest”.
But, you may say, “Who cares,” and you may be right. Who’d want to get or give a Valentus card?
Suddenly, Every Summer
Speaking of Kesey: he would think we were weird for putting what he considered to be his second-best novel high on our school reading lists. When Ken Kesey thinks you’re weird, that’s a problem, folks.
I admit to being a sucker for the Kesey and his Merry Pranksters as portrayed at least in Tom Wolfe’s “Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby”. Further, indeed. Much.Ah, the summer of Love!Come to think of it, that was a pretentious title, since every summer is a summer of love, especially if you are young.
Some years ago, a classics professor at Yale wrote a pretty bad novel about two Harvard students, which was later turned into an even worse movie. Both were called “Love Story”. The story’s seminal line was, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”Wrong-eddy, Wrong
Inconveniently, often painfully, love means exactly being able to say you’re sorry and mean it at the very times when you really do not want to do so, but know that you must.
Even at Harvard and Yale. Actually, especially at Harvard and Yale.
The great basketball player, Julius Erving, aka Dr. J, who was the LeBron of his era, once said: “Being a professional means being able to do the things you love to do on the days you don’t want to do them.”Exactly.
In the late 50s, the Captain of the US Davis cup team was playing a match on grass in the Stadium at Forest Hills. He was a very good player and had once won Wimbledon.
He dispatched his opponent that day 6-0, 6-0, 6-0.
Love, Love, and Love.
He made it obvious during the match that he was in a hurry, barely stopping while changing sides, and not even bothering to pretend to lose a single game.
The reason? A potential Davis Cup Team member was playing in the Grandstand at the same time and he wanted to finish quickly in order to see him play.
A few weeks later, on the same Stadium court on which the man had demonstrated pure “love” for his opponent, the Australians won the Davis Cup.
Winners may take all, but true Champions learn to love the game more than the score.
All We Needed Was the Beatles
Anyone of my generation who talks about love without mentioning The Beatles has a bad memory, a heart of stone, or was not paying attention.
I remember exactly where I was when I heard my first Beatles’ song and saw their floppy-haired photo on the small cover of the 45 RPM single, “I Want To Hold Your Hand”.
Teen Dance. Fall 1963, Hof Hall, Community House, Borage Place, Forest Hills Gardens, N.Y.. Earth. Milky Way. Universe.
Everything changed. Forever.
That song was not their first hit or even their first release in the U.S., an honor that must go to another song that changed everything, “She Loves You”.
Love. For one day at least, it really is easy:
“Love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love.
There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done.
Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung.”