coronary care

it’s pretty much the essence around here. the reason we’re in business, you might say. it’s what pull up a chair is really all about. saying i love you. in ways that otherwise fly under the radar.

leave the billboards alongside the highway to someone else, please. never mind airplanes dragging propositions through clouds. giant bouquets of long-stemmed fleurs rouge? they’re fine, but no thank you.

i’d rather do whimsy. tuck love under a napkin. spoon it into the batter. sprinkle it onto the pillow. maybe even into a tub that’s all sudsy.

i’d rather make it a game. give it some thought. tickle the brain.

i like love folded in triangles and slid into lunch bags. i like love scrambled in eggs, eggs dabbled pink for the day. i like love cut in red paper hearts, laid out in a trail from the edge of the bed, down the stairs, through the front hall, past the old stove, right up to the heart-laden table, where love leaps onto your lips when you pucker and bite into a fat, juicy berry in winter.

i’m pretty sure i’ve been a child of hearts ever since i could pick up a pencil and scribble. i like nothing so much as a big stack of construction paper, decidedly pink and red, topped off with a pair of squiggly scissors. i cut to my heart’s content. doesn’t matter if it’s february or not. i do hearts twelve months a year. but the hearts of today, they are perhaps the finest of hearts. they have a little more oomph than some of the others. a little more sparkle, you know.

i’ve been pondering this national feast day of hearts. and i’m thinking that we should start counting. count all the ways that there are to spell out i love you to those whom you love with, well, all of your heart. i’ve already started, dropped little love crumbs, just up above.

so here, counting by numbers, a dozen and two ways to spell love, to say love, to pound out a love tune from your very own heart into the heart of the ones who you love…

1.) quick, grab a scissors. cut as many red hearts as you can possibly cut.

2.) make a paper heart trail from the edge of your little one’s bed (or even the bed of your big love) to some undisclosed location, say, maybe the kitchen, where the whole day unfolds.

3.) set the kitchen table with all things red and pink.

4.) go crazy with doilies. they are the accessory of choice for this festival of frills, morning ‘til night.

5.) sprinkle tiny paper hearts—or, heck, even rose petals—all over the bathroom sink. consider more rose petals for the watery bowl of la toilette. i’m not kidding, they’ll go nuts. especially if they’re boys with good aim.

6.) now, dash back to the kitchen. put out a fat bowl of strawberries. or a bowl of fat strawberries. your choice. (by the way, have you noticed that the strawberry is, drum roll, the original red-heart-shaped fruit?)

7.) whip up some scones in little heart pans. or, easy way out, cut toast with little heart cookie cutters.

8.) scramble eggs. add a few drops of red food dye. keep scrambling. get ready to slide onto plate. (lox added to eggs makes eggs even pinker. the pinker, the better today).

9.) open a jar of the yummiest, reddest strawberry jam you can find. (there must be one jammed at the back of the fridge in case you forgot to stock up). insert spoon. try not to lick straight from the jar.

10.) leave love note under the plate (if you’re truly in luck, you’ll have found one of those cheap plastic red heart plates at the grocery store; it’ll come in quite handy today). while you’re at it, a love note tucked somewhere in the salle de bain also works. under the shaving cream. behind the shampoo. who knows, it just might work wonders.

11.) pour sparkling juice of some kind into a long, tall champagne glass. dunk a fat strawberry into the fizz.

12.) fill sugar bowl with red and pink m&ms.

13.) tuck yet another love note into the belly of a mitten. it’ll be found once your love is out in the cold.

14.) cut peanut butter & jelly into heart shape. drop into brown lunch bag, emblazoned with hearts. add requisite love note, pink m&ms, small bag of fat strawberries. silly pink napkin never hurts.

15.) spend the rest of the day figuring out how to top this for dinner and bedtime.

so there you have it. fourteen ways to say i love you, plus one for good luck.

that’s how i’m spelling love at my house today. how will you spell it at yours? it’s your turn, keep counting…

p.s. and, oh, by the way, from my heart to yours, here’s a big puckery smooch.