anne mikolay 2012 120

anne mikolay 2012 120Hallmark and Russell Stover’s favorite holiday, Valentine’s Day, is here again. Despite the abundance of heart-shaped boxes of candy and sentimental greeting cards, most people don’t understand Valentine’s Day. Nope. Not one bit.

Valentine’s Day takes its name from the widely recognized third century Roman Saint Valentinus. Allegedly, Valentinus was imprisoned for performing wedding ceremonies for soldiers who had been forbidden to marry. Legend states upon his execution Valentinus left a farewell letter signed “your Valentine”. Though steeped in such myth, Valentine’s Day, February 14th, evolved through the ages to become the unofficial holiday of love. 

Each year, men and women wonder what to give their significant others to commemorate the day. Chocolate and flowers are popular choices while those with fatter wallets might spring for a night on the town or expensive jewelry. Nowadays, Valentine’s Day is designed to impress, as if your affection for another is measured by the size of the box of candy or the price tag on the gift you give.

Valentine’s Day – and love itself – has nothing to do with heart-shaped candy boxes or sparkling diamond earrings. Love, my friends, is a daisy a day.

To make my point, allow me to reiterate a tale originally reported by


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Each day, Mr. Bud Caldwell, an 82 year old widower in Wisconsin, walks to the park bench dedicated to his late wife, Betty, and leaves a daisy and a penny as simple, touching commemoration of the couple’s favorite songs, “A Daisy a Day” and “Pennies from Heaven”. These daily visits, Caldwell says, are his way of showing Betty he will never let her down, but when heavy snow blanketed the park, Caldwell was unable to make it to the bench and daily viewed his wife’s “marker” from his car. Two park workers noticed the gentleman in his car and realized the importance of Bud visiting his wife.  These generous individuals shoveled a path to the bench, allowing Bud Caldwell to bring his daily daisy and penny to his beloved.

Now that’s love – love between a man and a woman who were together for 56 years – love in the hearts of two strangers helping a widower reach his wife’s memorial. I’ve seen this love before. When my father-in-law was alive, he gave his wife a single rose every Valentine’s Day. It was so important to him to express his love for her that, when felled by cancer, he attempted to get out of bed to walk to the florist.  Luckily, each of his four children, unbeknownst to one another, had purchased a rose for him to give their mother!

The purpose of Valentine’s Day is not to express affection extravagantly but to do so meaningfully. As you plan for Valentine’s Day, keep Mr. Bud Caldwell in mind and remember, love is a daisy a day.

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Anne Mikolay

Anne M. Mikolay joined The Atlantic Highlands Herald as a columnist in 2008. Prior to penning “The Armchair Critic,” Anne wrote feature articles for The Monmouth Journal. Her work has appeared in national...