It all started out innocently enough with the arrival of an email from the Missouri Botanical Gardens in my inbox.
Seems that each year the garden hosts a swinging Valentine’s Day party in the Ridgeway Center, including a gourmet meal, a lively band, tours of the beautiful flower arrangements and a champagne toast for good measure. I half guessed it would be like attending a swanky wedding without having to pay the tab.
I started reading the menu and I never moved passed the choice of medallions of beef or salmon. It all sounded so good. I was starving. The sales pitch was crafted so it had me hook, line and sinker.
Sure, I would post it right away on my calendar of events, and I circulated it to the other 23 Patch editors in the area to add to their calendars, if they so chose to do so.
To be honest, wife and friend and I had not been in the habit of celebrating Valentine’s Day for a very long time. Seems like there was always an important basketball game or swim meet to cover on weekends. I guess we just convinced each other there was too much commotion in the restaurants, so why bother fighting the crowds?
This time, things would be different. The invitations had just hit the public air waves. I decided to take decisive action. I called the garden reservation hotline and said, “Count us in.” I wanted to make sure the reservation was good before they sold out. Turns out, it's a turn-away crowd every year.
Got any idea where the story goes next?
First the wife pulled some old dresses out of the closet, and I summarily dismissed them. Being the big shot socialite, I said then go out and buy something new. She reluctantly said she would, just as soon as Saturday got here.
I told her I’d help her shop. She stated flatly “No way, Jose.” The bull was left out of the china shop.
Later, weary from five hours on the road, she came through the door armed with three new dresses. She said they were all on sale. The calculator was spinning in my head, how much money I’d saved just laying there on the couch with everything marked down.
She told me what a bargain the flowery print was from Banana Republic, never mentioning the two she got from the new Nordstrom store at the Galleria. I figured I was in trouble by that point. She went on and on about how helpful sales consultants Idelle Wiener and Zelda Goodman were working with her for two straight hours. You could almost complete a basketball game in that amount of time.
Looking ahead, we have a big trip to Vegas in March for a family bar mitzvah. When my wife goes power shopping, which is rare, it's for keeps. Frankly, she’d like to go to all these events dressed in blue jeans. Social etiquette forbids that.
Besides, she pays the bills, so I’ll never know what she paid for the purple dress or the chic black number with sequined straps anyway. She’s as practical with money as I am reckless. She knows what’s in our account and knows she’s got the dough to cover the costs. That’s good enough for me.
I told her the dresses were beautiful, and she should keep all three. I told her she’d be the belle of the ball.
I’m really glad the gardens dispatched that press release. We are looking forward to a night of Valentine's celebration at the Missouri Botanical Gardens. I couldn’t think of a nicer place to spend the evening.
No one will ever accuse me of being a hopeless romantic. But at the least give me an "E" for effort.