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Mychal Wilmes: Queen for a day on Valentine's Day

Just two cookies, deliciously homemade and delivered by a charitable co-worker the day before, remained in the aluminum foil container when I arrived on Valentine eve's bone-chilling morning.

I was initially committed not to dunk the remnants in coffee because I promised Kathy the night before to obey the diabetes dictate.

I had consumed a half-dozen of the candy containing cookies on Friday and followed them up with a sugar-laden cupcake for supper. The cupcake pushed things over the top.

"Do you want to die young,'' Kathy asked with equal parts exasperation and resignation.

Although I do think she worries too much, I promised to try harder. Beyond that, I assured that it was my intent to treat her like a Valentine Queen for a weekend with the appropriate pomp and circumstance.


Saturday began with a gentle hug and a quiet exit for breakfast at the West Concord bowling alley.

The waitress, who tolerates the table's all-male bluster, was greeted with an early "Happy Valentine's Day."

"I hate Valentine's Day,'' she said. "Well, I don't actually hate it. It's all the pressure … everyone wants it to be so perfect and it never is.''

The men at the table agreed and added that flowers, cards and candy went way over the top. It should be noted that men in coffee shop conversation do not necessarily say what they mean. The absence of spouses encourages a certain amount of peer preening, which is why most of what is said there is not to be shared.

I had thought about going over the top, but $6.25 in the pocketbook allows for only a short climb.

"It sounds like candy bar territory,'' the waitress said.

Maybe even a couple bars laden with peanut butter. I had given roses before, but only received a lecture about how roses die and thus money is wasted. A living bouquet with chocolate-covered strawberries, pineapple and assorted candies is a great idea, but involves a considerable cash outlay that is beyond my weekly allowance's reach.

I stumbled on the royalty weekend idea after watching "Queen for a Day,'' a popular TV game show that ran in the 1950s and early '60s. The announcer started each episode with "Would you like to be a queen for a day?''


Each contestant followed by reciting their economic and emotional hard times, and an applause meter selected which tale of woe and contestant the audience liked best. The winner was draped in red velvet robe, given a jeweled crown, a dozen red roses and seated on a velvet throne. She also received a vacation with her husband, new appliances, silverware and dishes.

Kathy — if given the opportunity that she would almost certainly not take full advantage of — might have a winning tale of woe involving a stubborn husband who is often unwilling to play by house rules. Her mate would undoubtably offer a meek defense that the year past included a new washing machine and a stunning new Christmas-given electric frying pan.

Two cookies won't kill me. One was already gone when the telephone rang. Kathy called to say that she was cleaning house with grandson Elliot's help. He talked on the phone about how cleaning was both a grown-up thing and a lot of work.

"Grandpa, it's all a mess,'' he said.

I had promised the queen's weekend would include house cleaning and clothes washing. However, having a grandson help is in itself royal treatment.

I purchased two large Reese's Peanut Butter Cups on my way home and felt good because they arrived home unopened.

The castle is clean and the clothes washed; the king without a crown rests on his recliner throne content knowing the queen is thoroughly enjoying her youthful subject.

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