My heart murmurs softly as I order Valentine’s candy. The list is shorter now. Three boxes go to heaven, and I thank See’s for not charging any shipping fees. I wonder if my mother still hides her candy.
“I have to hide it from myself, so I won’t eat it all at once,” Mom, gone five years, would say every year.
“Please just send me a very small box,” pleaded daughter Sara who inherited her grandmother’s sweet tooth. But George wasn’t having it. He was the Santa Claus of Valentine’s candy. If you were in his orbit, expect a big red satin box to be delivered. He declared it a national day off-diet.
Every year, he got out his list to call See’s and place his order. His mom. My mom. His sister. His niece, daughters and eventually came the most fun of all, the grandchildren. “I have a new name to add this year,” he would tell the ordering operator enthusiastically after each of the grands came into the world.
Whenever anyone on his list moved, he tracked them down. From college dorm and first apartment to new city or retirement home, his Valentine’s Day candy found its way to their mailbox.
After the 1994 Northridge earthquake, my friend Barbara, whose home suffered considerable damage, was staying with us while repairs were underway on her place. She came home from work on Valentine’s Day to find a red box in the guestroom. Even after all these years, she still talks about how much George’s thoughtfulness meant to her.
It is a Jewish tradition, when someone dies, to offer the condolence “may his, or her, memory be a blessing.” Even though I’ve heard it and said it most of my life, only in recent years have I understood the real meaning of the words as they speak to me.
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When I begin a sentence with “as George would say …” (or Mom or one of the Squares), I am acknowledging that their worth and wisdom continue.
“Hi. Simply hi,” George would greet me when he walked into the house, filling it with warmth and light. I am honored to carry on my late husband‘s memory in heart-shaped boxes.
Email Patricia Bunin at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @PatriciaBunin and at PatriciaBunin.com.