Today’s column is a work of fiction, about the true meaning of Valentine’s Day.

From London, the British Broadcasting Company began their nightly news with the following six feature stories:

1. Brazil, South America. Like twisted, blackened fingers rising to claw the sky, columns of smoke ascend upward. For 11 days, firefighters have battled what is now officially called the worst ecological disaster in history. If this inferno is not put out soon, the fate of both the tropical rainforest, as well as the entire crop of Cacao trees (from which cocoa and chocolate are made) is in jeopardy.

2. Illinois. What baffles scientists may be a new mutant form of a common fungal disorder called, “Black Spot,” which infects roses. From the prairie soils of Illinois and Indiana, to the northern reaches of Manitoba, and as far west as Texas, the entire crop of roses has been infected. All types of roses – Sea Foam, Bonica, Angel Face, Graham Thomas – lie blackened with blight.

3. Wall Street. Stunned by the total loss of this season’s crop of Cacao beans and raw chocolate, confection companies such as Godiva, Lindt and Hershey’s, saw their stock prices plunge to 10% of their original value. As a massive sell-off of chocolate stocks continued, larger international corporations such as Nestle, Mars and Nabisco suffered the same fate.

4. Interpol/FBI/CIA. For reasons unknown, the entire stock of Valentine cards throughout the globe has vanished.

5. London, Cairo, Tokyo. Millions of protestors march and carry signs which read: Save Valentine’s Day!!

6. The President of the United States, issued a pledge to calm the fears of a planet: “Citizens of the world – the bandits who are trying to wipe out Valentine’s Day will be apprehended and punished. To ensure that happens, I have called the VIP’s, who shall soon be here to save the day. Finally, I’ve asked Congress to approve my emergency chocolate rationing program, so that each of you will receive one, individually wrapped piece of congressionally approved chocolate truffle. God Bless America.”

Here come the VIP’s.

They fell from deep space, igniting upon entry into Earth’s atmosphere. From a distance, they resembled a meteor shower of red fireballs. But as they came closer, the throb and roar of atomic engines told you exactly what they were: Starships from another galaxy.

Like comets glazed with ruby light, their starships pierced the darkened night,

Ten thousand ships had made the flight, ten thousand ships to end the blight.

The VIP’s (Valentine Intergalactic Police Service) had arrived to save Valentine’s Day. They came, they conquered, they munched on M & M’s, they left.

Brief History:

Valentine’s Day was conceived in 1380 AD, when the English poet, Geoffrey Chaucer, wrote “Parliament of Foules,” where the tradition of purchasing gifts for a sweetheart on St. Valentine’s Day, began. St. Valentine was a 3rd century Christian, martyred by the Roman Emperor, Claudius II.

Now that you’ve been educated about Valentine’s Day, let’s ask this question: If all the chocolate, fresh roses and love letters (called Valentines) suddenly disappeared, would there still be a Valentine’s Day? “Yes”, you say? You are right.

Unlike a 5-pound box of Godiva chocolate, or a dozen roses, love is not for sale or purchase. You simply cannot stroll up to your corner grocery store and tell the clerk, “Two gallons of love, please.” Regardless of the type of love you are smitten by – puppy love, fondness, adoration, infatuation – love cannot be bought.

So, where does love come from? How do I get some? Think of Valentine’s Day as a large weaving loom, upon which the fabric of romance can be created. Two separate people begin a romance by weaving many-hued threads of emotions, actions, and words. As the fabric of their relationship grows, a new pattern emerges, which is unique to these two lovers. Over time, the separate identities of the two disappears, as one seamless tapestry is created. (Have you wondered why, after 30 or 40 years of marriage, a couple’s face starts to merge into one common appearance? I may be wrong, perhaps it’s just the cumulative effect of gravity.)

Using the ancient tradition handed down by the VIP’s, called “Word-Weaving”, here is an illustration of the crisscrossing, interlacing weaving which binds one heart to another.

The pattern of love-weaving begins as set forth: the capture of a sweetheart, the rapture of the capture, the enchantment of the rapture, the charm of enchantment, the tenderness of charm, the devotion to tenderness, the love of devotion, and the celebration of love, as practiced on Valentine’s Day. (The content of this article is for educational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for treatment by a professional. The characters in this story are not real. Names and details have been changed to protect confidentiality.)

Dr. Richard Elghammer is a clinical psychologist in Danville and practices at the Elghammer Family Center. He received specialty training in child, adolescent and family psychology at Riley’s Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis, and completed his clinical internship at Indiana University School of Medicine.

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