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I have known about the Twelve Days of Christmas my entire life, and have celebrated Twelfth Night more than once. In October, I consider that my birthday starts with the arrival of my first card or gift, and lasts until the last card or gift is received. I really enjoy my birthday month!

But the concept of Valentine’s Day being spread out across several days is new to me, and I rather like it. On Friday night any number of people came to Olive Garden to celebrate Valentine’s Day “ahead of time” and avoid the crowded restaurant on Saturday (I’ll call this Valentine’s Day #1). It didn’t exactly work that way, as we are always busy Friday nights, and this Friday was no exception. Then on the “real” Valentine’s Day (Valentine’s Day #2?) we were astoundingly busy, with people being told they would have a 2-1/2 hour wait and staying anyway!

I was completely surprised by how many people — especially couples — came in today dressed in their festive clothes who, when asked, said that yes, they had decided to wait until today and avoid the Valentine’s Day rush. And, for the most part, they were pleasantly surprised about how soon they were able to be accommodated.

Several of our servers received Valentine’s Day bouquets during their shifts at work, and we all enjoyed seeing them throughout the day. I have to admit to missing my Valentine’s Day flowers. From the very beginning of our relationship, my husband-who-lives-across-town sent or brought me flowers for every possible occasion across the year. When I moved out, I had to insist that he no longer send me flowers — it just didn’t feel fair to let him continue. But when I see the beautiful bouquets some of our gals receive from their significant others, it gives me a bit of a pang. This Valentine’s Day marked the 40th anniversary of the day we met, and I had a nostalgic late-night phone call recognizing that. It seems a lifetime ago, or just a little while, depending on the day.

On which ever day you celebrated it, I hope your Valentine’s Day was charming, spent with those you love. Sweet dreams.

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