Whither And Why: Valentine’s Day
From the desk of Gerald Honk, Esq
I wished to compose a Valentine poem for my dear wife Lillian recalling our first meeting. Lil was always fond of my stanzas, but for the particulars of our star-crossed beginning, only one man could help: my friend, the capricious curmudgeon and grandiloquent guru, Sir Hilary Harrison-Nairn.
“Poetry, Honk?” he asked. “Leave it to Nairn!”
“Not necessary, H.H.,” I replied, “simply remind me of how Lillian and I came to be!” And my friend began to recount.
“Ah, to once again feel love’s keen sting. My trouble, of course, is I always seem to be instantly engaged to these ludicrous fillies. I don’t know how, but before one has brushed the first dinner’s crumbs from the napkin, it’s talk of vicars, cakes and the logistics of flying in émigré cousins. Did you know I’ve been attached to marry nigh on thirteen women? Dashed unlucky tally, but as long as I keep unhitching myself from such entrapments, I think I could stomach another round.
I remember one Saint Val’s day – I was trying to link you with my half-sister Esther, you remember? The willowy thing with the machine gun laugh and a penchant for crying at unspeakable volume when excited? I, of course, failed because you ended up with your beloved Lillian. Clever lady, your Lil, managing to interdict every one of my arrangements. The Punch Bowl: she was there before Esther had turned her head. A quiet walk in the grounds: m’dear half-sis receives a sudden and mysterious phone call. The scented table napkin at your seat: set aflame by a carefully spilled candle. All Lillian. These things require strict timing, Honk, and your wife’s is that of an atomic clock. Happy day, old chap; here’s to love.”
I sauntered home, iambic pentameter carousing across my head. On arrival, I uncovered a note in my pocket, written in my friend’s hand:
“There once was a Honk named Lillian,
Who truly was one in a million,
I’m glad that she’s mine,
And if I have time,
The last line would not do, but H.H. had struck poetic gold! As I redrafted, I thought of Lil, and how love really is the one fall we never wish to get up from.
Valentine’s Day is, of course, February 14th. If you are lucky enough to love and be loved, H.H. and Honk wish you substantial happiness. If you are not, H.H. is open to offers.