My un-Valentine’s Day Day  

     The first Valentine’s Day as Max’s wife I woke to the sound of a knife thudding against a wood chopping block and bowls clanking. I walked into the kitchen. The coffee pot was empty except for some dregs at the bottom. Where was my coffee?

Max always made morning coffee for me. And today – Valentine’s Day – no coffee! That was # 1.

We were catering a party for a client who had major connections and could give great recommendations if our fledgling company Presentation Is Everything came through for their party. Max was on edge.


Without even looking at me or kissing me, he handed me an apron, knife and chopping block. Happy Valentine’s Day to you, too, Max! That was # 2.


Pushing plastic bags toward me, Max said, “Wash these radishes and tomatoes. I’m carving them into roses.”

Roses for the clients but not a single posy for me! That was # 3.

Not that I was counting. But somewhere around 3:00 in the afternoon, I lost count.

Hello! Earth to Max! It’s Valentine’s Day for me, too!


That’s what it was like all day. But, being a good wife (I was rethinking the job, believe me) and also being Max’s partner in the company, I helped him put the job together. I did come to a groundbreaking conclusion, though – men really are from Mars!

By 6:00, everything was ready: the Sesame Shrimp with Pomegranate Sauce, the Tomatoes Stuffed with Aubergine Caviar, Raspberry Brie en Croute. But what tied it all together was the cascade of rose tomatoes and radish roses weaving through the hors d’oeuvres. I had to hand it to Max – the food landscape was spectacular.

I, and the food trays, rattled along in the back of the catering van to the site of the party while Max sat in front with the driver. Yeah, me. I was thinking about that gallon of butternut pecan ice cream in our freezer, probably the only Valentine I was likely to get.


When we were finally through with the job, around midnight, and came home, I kicked the valve of the gas fireplace on, poured some brandy into a glass, knocked it back, collapsed into an arm chair and wanted to cry. I was exhausted and didn’t feel like talking to “Mr. All About My Career.” I wished he were back on his own planet.

Just then he walked in carrying a silver tray holding a champagne bottle and two glasses. He put them down, came over, kissed me and dropped a light blue box with a white ribbon on my lap. I knew that box. Tiffany’s. Oh, my.

I untied the ribbon. Inside the box was a red heart pin with an “S” written in tiny crystals. It was gorgeous!

“I couldn’t have done this without you,” Max said, “and I know I can never do tomorrows without you, Sylvia dear. Happy Valentine’s Day!”


My man. My hunk. My hero. My divine Max.

Later that year, he won his first Golden Radish Award from the Garnishing Guild of America for that very same Valentine’s Day party.

xoxo  Sylvia