Today’s blog post will regale you with the tale of our Valentine’s Day, 2013: the best Valentine’s Day ever! One column tells the story from Blue’s view, while the other gives Tom’s perspective.
February 14, 2013. After exchanging gifts and enjoying a breakfast in bed with my husband, I went downstairs to discover 2 envelopes in our front room. On the outside of one of them was written, “Blue, Please open this at 4:00 pm.”
On the second one — well, you can see for yourself =>
I was shown the envelopes first thing in the morning and then told not to touch! Talk about curious! The word “wait” is not in my vocabulary! Still, I was a good girl and did as I was told — although the envelope was on my mind all day.
These two envelopes, as simple as they looked on the outside, were in reality the first fruits of a lot of labor, including over 100 emails between 5 husbands, and clandestine breakfast meetings to get everything planned. We five men are neighbors whose wives are avid quilters, and in early January we decided to give our wives a special Valentine’s Day with a quilter’s focus.
Each of our wives was given a letter in the morning and told not to open it until 4:00 pm. The hope was that it would build an anticipation for what might be happening that night.
To get my mind off the envelopes, my husband and I went out to deliver a small Valentines gift to our daughter at her workplace. And since we just happened to be in the neighborhood of a fabric store, I asked my husband if we could swing by and give it a visit. After all, how could he say no on Valentine day! 😉
My husband browsed fabric with me for a few minutes then slipped over to the music store that was in the same strip mall so we were both happy!
After dropping off a Valentine’s gift to our 23-year old daughter, who calls this day “Singles Awareness Day,” my wife asked if we could swing by a fabric store nearby. Realizing the store was in the same strip mall as one of my favorite music stores, I thought that was a grand idea. After all, if I needed some more bass gear, how could she tell me no on Valentine’s Day! 😉
While in the fabric store, I was delighted to see my neighbor and fellow avid quilter, Jerusha Beckstead, walk in. Of course we thought it was hilarious that we live so close to each other, and where do we see each other? In fabric stores.
After exchanging quilting chit chat, Jerusha asked me if I was doing anything fun for Valentines Day. I replied that I was not sure; I had two envelopes waiting for me at home: one to be opened at 4pm and one at 4:50pm.
Jerusha gasped and said she also had an envelope she was to open at 4:00 pm.
Naturally, our minds started racing: oh my goodness… our husbands have conspired! What could they be up to? Long after our face to face conversation about it we were texting each other with thoughts on what might be going on.
I was rocking the music store with a funky Marcus Miller slap bass line when my phone received a text.
“Jerusha is here!” it read.
I shrugged and moved on to a Victor Wooten slap bass line.
“Perfect,” I thought. “There’s no way they can figure out anything, and this will just add to their excitement.”
It was finally 4:00pm, at least by my watch. 😉
Tom was wearing his coat, had his car keys in hand, and had just given me a good-bye kiss — not saying where he was headed.
I seized my first letter and started to open it, but our 15-year old daughter, Emily, would not let me read it until dad was out of the house.
What?! It was 4:00 pm! I had served my time; I’m entitled to read it now!
It was ALMOST 4:00 pm so I went to kiss my wife goodbye and get the night started — when suddenly our 5’9″ 15-year old daughter tackled her little 5’4″ mum to our hardwood floor! I was speechless!
“Go dad!” she yelled, “Go! I’ll hold her down until you are gone!”
Watching my wife pinned to the floor by Emily, and seeing them wrestle about… was eerily reminiscent of Jerusha and Blue at a fabric sale.
When I opened the letter, this is what it said:
Valentines Day 2013
Somewhere out there
Beneath the pale moonlight
Someone’s thinking of you
And loving you tonight.
(For some reason I found myself humming the theme song to An American Tale: Fievel Goes West).
Somewhere out there
Five husbands dressed in jeans
Wait for their brides, dressed casual
With quilting in their genes.
(I had read somewhere that quilters can’t help it, it’s in their genes!)
4:50 pm to be precise
Four friends are coming over
For a treasure hunt you’ll find nice.
(What?! Not just Jerusha, but 4 women are coming over?! I wonder who!)
When all five — quilters arrive
Open the pink enveloped letter
To learn where to go next;
The evening only gets better.
(Quilters?! They are all quilters too?!)
Somewhere out there
Someone’s saying a prayer
So grateful we found each other
In that big somewhere out there.
(How cool was that?!)
As I drove away, I wondered if Blue was okay or if I should phone for an ambulance just to be safe.
By the way, Blue left out the last part of the letter, but that was very mushy and personal stuff, so I definitely agree with the revision.
The plan was to have the women gather at my house, then leave together in the same car.
The pink enveloped letter was written to send them to a nearby fabric store, The Fabric Mill, where some gracious (and very helpful) store employees would give them a large, white See’s Candy bag that contained a 1-pound box of See’s Chocolates for each of our wives, and a letter telling them where they were to go next.
Because our daughter had tackled me to prevent me from reading this letter, I figured that she must know more. Consequently, I tackled Emily and tried everything short of waterboarding to get information out of her as to who else was coming on this adventure, but to no avail. Once again, I was stuck waiting.
As a funny side note: this morning I was looking at the pink envelope again, and on the back side of the envelope it listed out the names of the people who had to be at the house before I could open it… I would have known had I just thought to turn it over!
When all the ladies had arrived — and I have to say: what a great choice of ladies! — we proceeded to open our second envelope. This is what it said:
We start by wishing a Happy Valentine’s Day
To our five lovely and amazing wives,
Words just cannot fully express
How blessed we are to have you in our lives.
It is now time for a quick roll call
Raise your hand when your name is read:
Mary Merrell, Nicky Pittman, Lara Tresner,
Vickie Webb and Jerusha Beckstead.
Now that our quilters are gathered
And in number have reached five
It is time to get into one car
And go for a little drive.
Your first stop is where quilters mill about
For fabric related to Bridges
When you arrive ask for Laura
Whose gift is sweeter than riches.
We knew instantly where to go: The Fabric Mill.
Actually, the names were listed on the FRONT of the envelope.
It’s pretty cool though, that she was too excited to notice.
By the way, when I went to the Fabric Mill earlier to drop off a very large bag with “See’s Candy” printed on the sides, a hush came over all the customers in the store as I walked through the door. I felt quite self-conscience as I walked to the counter with everyone staring at me.
“Look!” one woman said in a loud voice, “That guy has See’s chocolates… GET HIM!”
Again, I thought an ambulance might be needed.
As I dropped the bag off to these wonderful Fabric Mill co-conspirators, I explained the treasure hunt, dinner and dessert plans to the customers in the store.
“Ahh!” they all said, looking at me as if I were now the candy.
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Most poems rhyme
This one doesn’t.
At that, we all burst out laughing.
We are kidding of course
The rest of it actually does.
We just wanted to make you laugh
Because — well, just because.
Roses, of course, can be red,
And forget-me-nots are blue,
Candy, cards and flowers await
This lovely quilting crew.
Now that you have your chocolates
We can reveal a bit more of our plans.
We’re sure the Fabric Mill was easy to find,
And that you’ll have no trouble finding JoAnn’s.
We are also sure that at these locations
You all would like to linger and look,
So at each stop you have 15 minutes to tarry
And then you’ll have to book.
What can I say? This was the 3rd poem I had written in 2 days and I was running out of ideas for rhymes!
Besides, are violets really blue? Or are they violet?
Forget-me-nots, the state flower for the great state of Alaska, now THEY are blue!
They wanted us to linger for 15 minutes in Fabric Mill?! Surely this meant we could buy something, so some of us got fabric while others bought quilt patterns. We also took photos of our group and talked fabric. In fact, with chocolate, friends and surrounded by fabric, we were tempted to just stay in the store for the evening!
Curiosity got the better off us though, so we headed off to JoAnn’s. Besides, we would still be surrounded by fabric, right?
When we originally crafted our plans, we had no idea what the weather would be like. If the roads were snowy, then the wives would need more travel time. If the roads were not snowy, and they weren’t, then we would need the women to linger a bit at each stop to keep the schedule in tact.
At JoAnn’s each of us got a VISA or American Express gift card from our husbands that could be used anywhere we want for quilting supplies! What amazing husbands! We also got a letter telling us the next clue.
This clue was much more obfuscated than the previous clues, and had us looking about JoAnn’s for a tall guy named Mike. Then we thought we were supposed to go to “5 Guys Burgers and Fries.” Finally we realized we needed to head over to Michael’s, the craft store.
As we pulled into the Michael’s parking lot, we saw 4 of our 5 husbands huddled together, no doubt discussing how grateful they were to see us arrive and and save them from the cold, crisp evening air.
We’re in trouble. Jason, one of the husbands, was trapped in southbound I-15 traffic. Jason has the roses we are supposed to hand to our wives inside Michael’s — a la “The Bachelor” (Nicky, will you accept this rose?).
Concerned, we huddled together in the parking lot, hoping the wives would NOT show up before Jason arrived with the roses.
Laughter. Smiles. Hugs.
“Where’s my husband?” asked Jerusha.
The husbands explained Jason was held up in traffic but would join us soon, so we loaded into cars and drove to the Goodwood Barbeque Company, a nice, nearby restaurant. (I knew we weren’t going to 5 Guys on Valentine’s Day!).
Goodwood was packed, and the mob of people waiting for a table was huge. Employees were answering the phone and telling callers that there was an hour and fifty minute wait for a table. So you can imagine how impressed we ladies were when we were escorted past them all into a special room inside the restaurant that was set for exactly 10 people.
Jason and the roses arrived, and Tom did his best bachelor imitation when he asked, “Nicky, will you accept this rose?”
No sooner had our meals arrived when a choir of women from Mountainview High School, all dressed in formal gowns, came into our private room in this restaurant and serenaded us with a Capella love songs. And what a good job they did! Then just as they finished, a choir of young men from Mountainview High School entered our dining room and serenaded us as well.
It was an amazing night, and it wasn’t over yet.
After dinner we went to the home of one of the couples in our group. While we were away, the kids decorated the dining room for Valentine’s day. Here we had dessert (chocolate cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory, chocolate cake from Costco, and vanilla ice cream from the BYU Creamery). And with desert we played a quilting game, complete with prize gift bags for every bride that included charm packs, cute scissors, and candy.
When the night was done we all had such a fun time together. It was a night that will never be forgotten; our husbands truly excelled.
In fact, we can’t wait to see how they will top it next year! 🙂
It was such a great night; we can’t wait to see what the wives do to reciprocate next year. 😉