Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Home-cooked love the best Valentine

My beloved's getting his favourite meal, not a cheap trinket

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Melissa Degesso-Jones ruined Valentine's Day for the rest of us.

The Florida woman could have bought her husband a polyester teddy bear sporting a T-shirt that read "I Wuv You." She might have picked up a pair of red boxers covered in lipstick kisses. She could have gone with the tried-and-true offer of a foot rub and free control of the remote for the night.

But no. Degesso-Jones didn't settle for the stale and obvious. She gave her husband a kidney. She did not add steak and bake it into a pie.

James Jones had been suffering from renal failure. Monday, mere days before Valentine's Day, his wife had her kidney removed and transplanted into her hubby.

I know: makes the heart-shaped cake you had planned for dessert tonight look pretty shabby, right?

Men believe they have it tough on Feb. 14. They're convinced it's a conspiracy designed by women. Forget the day and you're dirt. Buy her something stupid and you're dirt. Believe her when she says every day is Valentine's Day and it's just an artificial money grab and you're dirt. Buy her something that would make a porn star blush and you're dirt.

Buy it two sizes too small and you're dead dirt.

It's sexist, conniving and reduces true love to a Hallmark card and dinner in a crowded restaurant.

But men aren't alone in this world of overpriced red roses, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates and cheap representations of romantic love. My gender falls victim to the same conspiracy. We just don't let you see us sweat.

A typical Valentine's Day at my house goes something like this:

Me (on Dec. 14): "I thought I'd just make us a nice dinner at home on Valentine's Day."

My beloved: "Isn't that in February?"

Me (on Jan. 28): "I thought I'd just make us a nice dinner at home on Valentine's Day."

My beloved: "Um, hmm."

Me (on Feb. 13): "I'm making us a nice dinner tomorrow."

My beloved: "Want to just go out?"

Me (on Feb. 14): "I'd better pick up a card. And maybe a marshmallow heart. And a giant balloon. And he'd better appreciate that home-cooked meal we've been talking about for months."

I know my beloved doesn't care if he gets a card. I hate lousy chocolate and cheap trinkets. He is indifferent to fine dining. I don't drink champagne. He will not appreciate a stuffed animal, unless it has a Walking Dead DVD sewn inside. He brings me flowers for no reason. I cook foods he loves as a habit. We understand that daily gestures stitch a marriage together.

We should both be immune from the pressures of Valentine's Day.

But I'm not.

I bought flowers for a family member at Safeway this week, marvelling at the cost of rose bouquets, rose and carnation combinations, rosebuds in vases and teddy bears holding roses. The clerk told me just as many girls and women buy flowers during what is now Valentine's week. They just don't arrive at the last-minute, glistening and desperate.

I went to Walmart and saw Valentine's gifts for pets. I love my dog because she's always happy to see me. Or anyone. She loves me because I can operate the can opener. It's not romantic on either side. I could spray Pam on a shoebox and she'd take that as proof she was in heaven.

There's a small part of me that wants to buy one of those jumbo Valentine's cards, the kind you can turn into a TV table when you're done. Dollarama doesn't sell them, so that's out.

Nope, I'm not bowing to pressure. I'm sticking to my original plan. When my husband gets home tonight, he'll have a nice, home-cooked dinner.

I just have to figure out what sort of side dish goes with spleen.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 14, 2013 B2

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About Lindor Reynolds

National Newspaper Award winner Lindor Reynolds began work at the Free Press as a 17-year-old proofreader. It was a rough introduction to the news business.

Many years later, armed with a university education and a portfolio of published work, she was hired as a Free Press columnist. During her 20-plus years on the job she wrote for every section in the paper, with the exception of Business -- though she joked she'd get around to them some day.

Sadly, that day will never come. Lindor died in October 2014 after a 15-month battle with brain cancer.

Lindor received considerable recognition for her writing. Her awards include the Will Rogers Humanitarian Award, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ general interest award and the North American Travel Journalists Association top prize.

Her work on Internet luring led to an amendment to the Criminal Code of Canada and her coverage of the child welfare system prompted a change to Manitoba Child and Family Services Act to make the safety of children paramount.

She earned three citations of merit for the Michener Award for Meritorious Public Service in Journalism and was awarded a Distinguished Alumni commendation from the University of Winnipeg. Lindor was also named a YMCA/YWCA  Woman of Distinction.

Reynolds was 56. She is survived by a husband, mother, a daughter and son-in-law and three stepdaughters.

The Free Press has published an ebook celebrating the best of Lindor's work. It's available in the Winnipeg Free Press Store; all proceeds will be donated through our Miracle on Mountain charity to the Christmas Cheer Board.


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