It was 1951 and it was my job to bring my mother Rose a rose, always red. This time I got fancy and bought a yellow rose, actually two of them. My gift was met with disdain, actually a sound that sounded something like “Blech.”
My Father’s yearly Valentine ritual consisted of an expensive gift and an equally expensive dinner at a well-known seafood house in Manhattan. Pop’s gift exceeded even my memories of past gifts as Rose was given a five carat diamond ring that blinded all the customers at nearby tables. It wasn’t on her finger more than two minutes when she announced that one day it would be mine if I was a good girl. The fact that I was, and always had been, a pain in the rear end to this woman meant the ring and it’s sparkle began to fade right before my eyes.
The menus were delivered by the same old man that always served us and I pretended to peruse the shellfish section. Sam and Rose always ordered salmon with a baked potato and a salad with Russian dressing. I knew weeks earlier, when my mouth began to water at the very thought of this evening, that a gigantic lobster, the largest one in the tank, would soon be mine.
Rose was semi-kosher, and by that I mean when it suited her. Today she was kosher and my lobster was seen as an atrocity. There was a huge discussion about shellfish (but no mention of her visits to the Chinese restaurant and the possible pork she might have had there).
I left it up to Pop and the waiter who seemed to want anything Rose did not want. She was outnumbered and the lobster was delivered to my waiting mouth.
Nothing could ruin this gastronomic feast for me even though Rose said kisses from me to her would not happen for a month and the lobster did look like a gigantic bug. Yes, it was another Valentine’s Day for Rose, Sam and Bunny – never to be forgotten – it’s as vivid in my memory as if it happened last week. I never got that five carat honker.