When I see Feb 14th coming up on the calendar, I think of two significant events in my life that occured on this date. To me, Feb 14th will always have a very different meaning than Hallmark cards and candy.
There are certain performers who make such an enormous impact on your life that you always remember where you were when you first time you heard their music, or saw them in a movie. On February 14th 2000, I was making a mix-tape for my parents for Valentines Day (I was thirteen, okay?) and went rummaging through my dad's CDs to get some songs for the tape. Now, to understand how serendipitous it was that I ended up with a Sinatra CD you have to first understand my dad's taste in music. How Sinatra ended up in a stack of David Bowie, T-Rex, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Roxy Music and Bauhaus I'll never know. But somehow I spotted it, and thought it might be good for a romantic tape.
The first song I played was All The Way.
I had originally intended on this being a MIX tape, but it ended up being a Sinatra tape. He's been my favorite singer ever since, and his music has had a tremendous impact on my life. Discovering him at the beginning of my teenage years meant his music was there through all those horrible ups and downs (mostly downs) that come with the moody territory.
I know I told this same story before on his birthday last year (so sue me, I don't have many interesting stories up my sleeve) but I felt like I had to say something to mark this anniversary. A whole decade of Frank Sinatra.
But by far the best Valentines Day of my life occurred on Feb 14th, 2003. My mom surprised me and my brother when she yelled, "Get dressed! We're going to pick out a cat!" It was totally unexpected, and pouring down rain outside, but we drove over to the local no-kill shelter.
I had my heart set on a white cat, and my mom wanted a black cat. But all notions of "the perfect cat" flew out the window when we saw Frosty. Three of her legs were bandaged due to frostbite, and she had lost half of her tail. She was a skinny, bony little runt with giant, sad eyes. She had been abused and left out in the cold of winter with no idea how to survive -- after having trouble finding food and coping with the freezing weather, Frosty had given up. When the animal shelter workers found her, she was curled up in a ball, waiting to die.
Seven years later, she's a fat, ornery cat named Chloe. Despite the showering of affection she receives, she's still weary of humans since she was abused and doesn't let us handle her much. But considering her past, we completely understand and give her everything else she wants. She's very spoiled and often attacks our legs if we walk by her without sprinkling some snacks on the floor! She's also prone to biting arms, and knocking glasses off the face with the swipe of a paw.
Her nickname is "The Assassin" because of the way she weaves through our legs, trying to trip us on the steps. But despite her violent tendencies, she's really a sweetheart. She loves to be petted-- when she's in the mood-- and her purrs are ten times louder than any cat I've ever heard. And she still has those huge, sad eyes.
No matter if I have a real date on Valentines Day -- for my entire life, Chloe will be my little valentine :)