A big red heart decorated the calendar for February 14, Valentine’s Day. The heart was to catch Mike’s eye and remind him that a special, gift giving day was approaching. Remind him if he ever bothered to look at the calendar, Marcie thought. She didn’t care if he gave her only a single flower, she just wanted to feel that Mike still cared for her romantically. She didn’t want to be just his housekeeper. She longed for the days when he couldn’t wait to see her after work, when he called her his little sweetheart. With a mortgage and fatherhood, he seemed to hardly notice her at all.
The phone rang jerking her away from fond memories of their early days together. “Hi, it’s me. Do you want anything from the store before I get home?” Mike’s husky voice could still shiver her timbers and he was considerate to call.
“No, I think we’ve got everything we need. But thanks for calling, I appreciate it.”
“OK, see you soon, then.” And he hung up without any special words or endearments. Oh well, Marcie thought, this is what happens after 10 years of marriage and two kids.
That night, Mike checked on Ethan’s and Marta’s baths and tucked them into bed. He sighed as he plopped down on the family room couch next to Marcie who had loaded the dishwasher and left the pots to soak.
Mike said, “Hey I see a special day is coming up soon.”
“Oh really, I hadn’t noticed. What day do you mean?” Marcie played dumb.
“I thought you’d be interested since you like chocolate so much.”
“Maybe I am, but what day do you mean?” Was he really going to talk about Valentine's Day? Was he planning something just for her?
“February 9th.” He smiled, but Marcie’s heart plummeted. “I just discovered that Hershey’s chocolate company was founded on that day in 1894. And that’s not all,” his eyes twinkled as he continued. “That day is also National Toothache day. Do you think there’s any connection?
“Oh, you!” She hit him with one of the blue and orange Chicago Bears’ pillows on the couch. “I’ll just leave you to watch your old football tapes.” Now that Super Bowl was over there wasn’t any new games, but Mike still liked to watch old ones.
The next few days went by as they normally did. Kids going to school, Mike going to work, and Marcie keeping the household running while she also did her volunteer work. She tried to stop thinking about Valentine’s Day and romantic dreams. She forced herself to realize those days were behind them. She actually lost track of what days were going by.
Early one February morning Mike woke her up with a big cup of hot chocolate. “Hey sleepy head. Did you forget what today is?”
“Whaa..what do you mean? It’s just Saturday. It’s a day when we can sleep a little later.” She looked at the clock. She had not slept a little later. Why did he wake her up so early on a Saturday?
“It’s “Hershey Chocolate Day”! February 9th! Remember I told you about it last week?” He grinned like a mischievous little boy.
“Yeah, I remember.” Marcie said cautiously.
“Well, I know you think I’m not romantic or thoughtful or anything women want men to be.”
“Oh, no, honey. You’re a great husband. You always take care of the kids when you can, and help me out….”
“I know, I know, but you want and deserve something special.”
“Well, this hot chocolate is really special. It was very, very nice of you to make this for me.” Marcie reached up to give him a hug but he sat down on the bed and put his arm around her.
“I’m glad you like it, but it’s just the beginning. I decided that instead of celebrating Valentine’s Day which everybody does and restaurants are so crowded, we’d have our own special day. And since you like chocolate so much, what better day than Hershey day.”
She just stared at him realizing he was not only a great husband but a great lover, too.
Mike continued with his plans, “I made lunch reservations at the little French restaurant you like on the pond. I thought lunch would be better than dinner so you could see the ducks in the water. And then for dinner, we’ll order your favorite pizza—it doesn’t have to be chocolate does it?” He looked worried.
“No, no, of course not. I love pizza.” Marcie was dazed.
“I got a great DVD for us to watch tonight. It sounded like something you’d like. It’s called “Chocolate.” And it takes place in France. It must be romantic, right?”
All she could say was, “Oh, Mike, I love you so much.” But then she thought of a problem. “What about the kids, are they going with us on our special lunch?”
“No, no. That was my master stroke. I arranged with your parents to pick up the kids this morning and keep them until after church tomorrow.”
“You are incredible.” She gave him a big kiss.
“Yes, I am,” he agreed. “And I also have a special gift for you.” He reached under the bed and pulled out a small, crookedly wrapped box.
“What on earth could this be?” she asked him. She wondered if it could be more chocolate? Certainly not lingerie or jewelry. She ripped off the gift paper until there it lay, in all its sparkly pink and chocolate, two toned wonder. A new toothbrush. She stared at Mike.
“Remember I told you, today’s also National Toothache Day. With all the sugar floating around you today, I wanted to protect your teeth.” That was Mike, husband, lover, and protector.