Valentines getting mushy today |

Valentines getting mushy today

Eileen JoyceKathleen Galloway works on a flower arrangement Tuesday at Foothill Flowers in Grass Valley. Co-owner Mark Johnson called the floral shop a "madhouse," thanks to Valentine's Day orders.
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Standing at a Grass Valley sandwich shop Wednesday, Ross Haines and Megan Hopkins held hands, on the cusp of celebrating their second month together.

Nearby, Bob Grant of Grass Valley dined alone, eagerly anticipating his 60th Valentine’s Day with his wife, Shirley.

Haines, 16, will probably go the traditional route today, traveling to Sacramento for dinner and a movie with Hopkins, 17. Both are Nevada Union High School students.

Grant, 83, who met his wife 70 years ago, eschewed traditional gifts long ago.

“I’m very fortunate,” said Grant, who drives a yellow Cadillac adorned with a 10-year-old license plate frame reading, “50 Years Still In Love.”

“Lord only knows how long each one of us will be on this earth, so we make the most of our time together, every day,” said Grant, who squired his wife to dance contests, once winning a cup signed by Benny Goodman.

“It’s just another day,” he said. “I hope Valentine’s Day feels the same as any other day.”

Valentine’s Day seems star-crossed, criticized as a commercial experiment fueled by the greeting-card industry and lauded as a lover’s holiday.

England’s King Henry VIII, who presumably had many valentines in addition to his eight wives, declared Feb. 14 an official holiday in 1537.

Some wonder, however: Shouldn’t every day be set aside for lovers?

“I think people need to figure out what this holiday is,” Haines said.

Laura Dennis knows.

“Valentine’s is all about love,” the 6-year-old first-grader said. Her Hennessy School class will celebrate today with the traditional exchange of cards. “We’re going to have a big party.”

For many women, flowers and dinner do the trick.

Mark Johnson, co-owner of Foothill Flowers, barely had time to take a phone call Tuesday as he assembled roses, orchids, tulips and carnation bouquets.

“It’s a madhouse,” said Johnson, who estimated his store would sell 2,500 roses and 2,000 carnations before the close of business today.

“Regardless of what people say about the economy, on Valentine’s Day, love rules,” he said.

Johnson said his own Valentine’s Day plans are sketchy at best.

“I’m going to come home, kick back, and give my wife a rose or two,” he said, “if I have any left.”

Reservations at area dinner houses were disappearing fast Wednesday. Villa Venezia in Grass Valley was nearly booked, and those looking to dine at popular New Moon Cafe in Nevada City are out of luck.

“We’ve been booked for about a week,” said New Moon owner Buzz Crouch, who declined to reveal tonight’s special dishes. “You know, people come in and have a good time every day, whether it’s Christmas or Valentine’s.”

Instead of a dinner, flowers or candy, Mike Lasich of Grass Valley expressed his love to his wife, Lynda, in a classified newspaper ad: “I love you best of everyone in this whole world,” he wrote.

Simple, but true, he said.

“I’ve done the candy and roses thing, but putting your love in writing is really significant,” said Lasich, who has been married 27 years. “(For men), this is just like any other day. For women, you have to understand, it’s a very big deal.”

Gary Clark of Grass Valley, who married Elizabeth just over a year ago, posted the following ad in The Union: “Mama Bear, you are my true love forever and ever. Love, Papa Bear.”

The fairy tale references, Clark said, explain how much Elizabeth cares for her two daughters, and how Clark, 43, after many years of searching, finally found his mate.

“She means everything to me. Valentine’s Day doesn’t scare me at all. We’ll probably have a nice dinner, I’ll kiss her butt, and let her know it’s over and back to normal tomorrow,” he joked.

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