If you were one of her grandchildren, Grandma rarely missed sending you at least three annual greeting cards: Christmas, your birthday and Valentine’s Day. She’d always add a few words and a “five spot” to each card. Her comments in her Christmas and birthday cards were usually occasion-appropriate sentiments. But that was rarely the case with Valentine’s Day. She brought a much more mischievous “Bad Cupid” approach to this holiday.
The earliest known appearance of Grandma’s Bad Cupid personality is from when she was just a schoolgirl. Her older brother had bought a box of chocolate-covered cherries to give to his girlfriend later that Valentine evening. This situation had three major problems:
No. 1 – Grandma really liked cherries.
No. 2 – Grandma REALLY liked cherries: When no one was around, she snatched the box of candy, used a knitting needle to pry the gooey fruit from the bottom of two of the candies and ate them. She then carefully placed the hollowed-out chocolates back in the box as if they’d never been disturbed.
No. 3 – Two was good, but all was better: After resisting temptation for a few minutes, Bad Cupid took complete control – Grandma grabbed the box and knitting needle, and got back to work. She quickly extracted and devoured every cherry from every candy. Later that evening, her brother unwittingly gave his girlfriend a box of gutted chocolate shells. I’m guessing the relationship didn’t last.
If Grandma couldn’t deliver a Bad Cupid assault in person, she’d resort to hinting at the embarrassment she could cause in her Valentine’s Day card messages. She added this wink-and-a-nod note to a card she sent to me while I was an “innocent” college freshman:
Age does a lot for you, so keep pecking away – you’ll make it. Now take this five spot and find you a Valentine to spend it on. I bet you’ll have a heck of a good time, so get a good looker – maybe you can get your money’s worth.
It didn’t occur to my innocent college freshman mind, but reading these words 30 years later, it sounds as though Grandma was suggesting I use the money to “buy” a “date” for Valentine’s Day. If so, I doubt a five spot would have gotten me my money’s worth in the “good looker” and “good time” categories … at least not at the same time. But I’m almost positive that isn’t what Grandma meant … almost.
The only thing that really mattered was every card from Bad Cupid ended the same way:
“I love you, Granny”