When we think of Valentine's Day, we think of hearts and flowers, Cupids and chocolates--and romance.
But according to wikipedia, one popular account of St. Valentine of Rome is that he was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire. Legend has it that during his imprisonment, he healed the daughter of his jailer, Asterius, and an embellishment to this story states that before his execution, he wrote a farewell letter to her and signed it, "Your Valentine."
It wasn't until the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished, that Valentine's Day was first associated with romantic love. In 18th-century England, it evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery and sending hand-written greeting cards known as "valentines." Since the 19th century, those lovely handwritten cards have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.
Still, we celebrate with Hallmark cards, flowers and candy for our sweethearts, and in our area, we add dances, dinners, music and parties that cover the spectrum in ages from 5 to 95.
For example, on Thursday, February 12 at 11:30 a.m., seniors at Semmes Senior Center can enjoy a lunch of Soup-and-Salad with entertainment by Semmes Senior Pickers. The lunch costs $6 per person with proceeds benefiting the Center.
The Pickers group consists of Earl Hudgins, Don Jenkins, Bryan Robinson and Joe Therrell (pictured) with maybe a few others joining in. Though they haven't released their playlist yet, the singers, acoustic guitar pickers and harmonica players are known for the variety displayed in their musical talents and choice of titles. Their interests range from traditional country and folk music to gospel to Mississippi Delta Blues. The Semmes Senior Center is at 9635 Moffett Road; the phone for information is 649-2010.
Parkway SAIL seniors will have a "Valentine Surprise" on Friday, February 13, and other senior centers also celebrate holidays, including Valentine's Day.
At Creola Assembly of God Church, 9580 Old Highway 43, adults will have a Valentine's Steak Dinner and Mystery Show on February 14, 6 p.m. Cost is $20 per person with proceeds going to support missions through Speed the Light. For information, call the church at 675-6009 or Barbara Enzor, 422-2356. Child care will be available for $5 per child.
Satsuma Reunited is hosting a Mother/Son Valentine Dinner and Dance on Friday, February 13, 6-9 p.m. at Satsuma Community Center. Tickets are $20 per couple and $5 for each extra son; tickets are available from any member of Satsuma Reunited, the dispatch office at Satsuma Police Department or by calling 463-4734. Proceeds go toward Christmas decorations for the City of Satsuma.
The 2nd Annual Daddy/Daughter Dance in Satsuma is Thursday, February 12 at Steele Creek Lodge. Tickets are $25 for father and daughter and $5 for each additional child. Tickets are available at First Baptist Church of Satsuma or Robert E. Lee Elementary School. For information, call Brent Rawson, 675-1280. Proceeds benefit the First Baptist Church of Satsuma's Uganda Team.
Even the youngest can celebrate with a "Glow in the Dark Valentine's Bash" for children 5-11 years old at Creola Assembly of God Church on Friday, February 14, 6-8 p.m. There'll be food, drinks, games and music, and children are encouraged to wear neon or white clothing. The cost is a $5 donation. Tickets will be available until February 11; call Barbara Enzor, 422-2356 for reservations or information.