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For Some of us EVERYDAY is Valentine’s Day! The Story of When Hairy Met Rhonda

February 14, 2013

My married name is Valentine.  My husband, Jeff, comes from a long line of ancestors who had last names of holidays.  Back in 1687, Lord Patrick Groundhog (he was later Sainted) married Lady May Secretary.  Lady May was very enterprising and she began a greeting card company that started fabricating senseless holidays that would make people feel guilty if they didn’t acknowledge said holiday honoree – thus buying more greeting cards.  It has grown into the bazillion-dollar fake-holiday industry we know today.  OK, that is a lie, but Jeff’s Grandma Dorothy Easter actually did marry his Grandpa Crosby Valentine, so there is a modicum of truth to my story.

I really enjoy having the last name of Valentine.  It is much more professional than my maiden name of Wafflesniffer, and when I leave messages for people, they sometimes think they are receiving a phone call from a sex-phone service.  (I admit that Rhonda Valentine does kinda have that cheesy stripper-name quality to it.)  To top it off, we were actually married on Valentine’s Day, so no one ever forgets our anniversary.  It’s so sweet that it’s almost sickening.

It gets a bit more sickening when you hear how we ended up together.  I have known Jeff since the 3rd grade.  I remember him because he wore green Sears Tuff-Skin Jeans and had really bad psoriasis.   I was madly in love with a bad boy named Murphy, with a back-up crush on another kid.  Jeff was not anywhere in my potential boyfriend food chain.  It was an auspicious beginning.  Slowly over time, though, Jeff and I become best friends.

1980 BFF's

1980 BFF’s

I ADORED him and had so much fun with him. Meanwhile, I was in serious relationships all through high school, college, and into adulthood – never with Jeff.   I had a feeling that he wanted to be more than best friends, but I didn’t pay too much attention to that. I was too busy being in relationships with other people.  Jeff sometimes was in different cities and countries, but he always occupied a special place in my heart as my dear friend.

Every year or so, Jeff and I would go out to dinner and catch up on our lives.  It was during these visits that he began to verbalize what I already knew: That he loved me, he had always loved me, and that he wanted to be together.  I would tell him that I loved him too.  Like a brother.  Then I would go home to whatever boyfriend I was living with at the time: some of them nice, and some not-so-nice.

Years went by this way until one day I received a letter from Jeff asking how I was and telling me about his girlfriend.  His girlfriend?  WTF?  I realized that I was not happy that Jeff had a girlfriend.  I did not want him, but I certainly did not want anyone else to want him.  It kinda pissed me off.  (Yeah, I know…)  Anyhoo, one morning I woke up absolutely bawling and told my boyfriend that I had had this awful dream where my best friend Jeff would not talk to me and that I missed him so much, but that I didn’t love him the way he wanted me to love him, but that I really missed him and wanted to talk with him, etc.  My boyfriend told me to leave Jeff alone and not play with his heart – which was exactly what I was doing.  (Jerk. I hate it when people call me on my shit.)  My boyfriend and I ended our relationship shortly afterwards.  I began to serial date.  But I missed Jeff.  A lot.  AND he had a girlfriend.  Bitch.

I was seeing a counselor at the time and I talked about how my romantic relationships were lacking the same connection I had with Jeff.  She told me that it was time I found out my true feelings for Jeff and that I should spend time with him – and this is where it got tough –AND I COULD NOT DATE ANYONE ELSE. THE HORROR!!  Nah, I was not happy about that part of it, but I knew I had to figure this Jeff-thing out, otherwise I was pretty sure I would never be completely happy in any relationship.  My counselor said that I could place a finite date for spending time exclusively with Jeff.  So I looked at the calendar and Valentine’s Day was 6 months to the day away and I proclaimed that if I wasn’t madly in love with Jeff Valentine before Valentine’s Day, that the JEFF VALENTINE EXPERIMENT was over.

We spent every night together.  We saw movies, cooked meals, goofed around with his brother and his brother’s girlfriend.  We went out on fun dates – and then he would try and kiss me good night – and I would push him away and say and I quote: “If you try and kiss me I will throw up in your mouth.”  Yikes.  To his credit, he stuck around.  A lesser man may have walked away, but Jeff was willing to risk vomit in his mouth.  He hung in there.

One day I was at his apartment and we decided to go out for a walk, but I needed a heavier coat.  I opened his coat closet to borrow one of his jackets – and in the back of the closet was his letterman’s jacket from our high school.  I gleefully put it on and put my hand in the pockets to go outside.  There was something in each pocket and I brought out one item in each hand.  The first was a large glued lucite diamond and the second was a polished wood heart.  I began to shake.

My biggest treasures

My biggest treasures

Jeff walked over to me looking at me very seriously and I was almost hyperventilating.  The heart was something he made for me in shop class, 12 years earlier, but I had forgotten to pick it up.  He also made the Lucite diamond in shop class.  He threw it over to me across the shop to show me and I remember telling him, “Valentine, when you can afford to buy me a real diamond this big, I will marry you.”  I put the treasures back in the pockets without saying anything.  But it was definitely out there now.

Well, after that day, I knew that Jeff was more serious about us than I had been allowing myself to think about.  I still would not kiss him, though.  Crossing that line was something I just could not do.  Finally Jeff’s brother’s girlfriend pulled me aside and asked what was wrong with me?  Couldn’t  I see that Jeff was an amazing man and that I was an idiot?  She told me to quit looking at him like he was the boy I had been friends with forever ago and start looking at him like the man he had become.

The next evening, Jeff was walking me to my door and I bent down to get my mail.  When I stood back up he just grabbed me and planted a huge kiss on me.  And there were sparks.  BIG.  HUGE sparks.  (And more importantly no nausea!!)  I immediately collapsed onto the floor in tears.  Jeff sat down next to me and asked why I was crying.  I said, “It’s real, isn’t it?” and he said, “What do you think I’ve been telling you for 12 years?”

BIG 1990 Hair

BIG 1990 Hair

And the rest, as they say, is history.  We got married a couple months later on Valentine’s Day.  Thank goodness Jeff had the sense to wait for me to grow up and didn’t pay attention to a thing I said.  Just like he does to this day.

Which is why we are celebrating 24 years together.  :b

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6 Comments
  1. Anonymous permalink

    Good things come to those who wait………..or.is it………those that are stupid? Damn……..I forget! So So happy you two have each other. We ALL should be so lucky!!!!

  2. EpicImbecile permalink

    Jeff is the man I have always wanted to be, but was always too weak to become. Unlike Jeff I did not have the patience nor the strength to “wait it out”. I spent a lifetime of settling instead of being smart enough, tough enough and ingenious enough to go after the girl that I have always known was my soulmate. I am 50 now, in a loveless marriage with heart problems and soon to die. She is 50 also, has systemic lupus and her time is short. The regrets haunt my entire existance and rare is the day that I do not cry. My weakness also manifested itself in so many other ways. I destroyed a wonderful career with one moment let-down of my self-control. My life has steadily crumbled and I have destroyed my relationship with my God, never to be repaired. Jeff Valentine is a pillar and a man to be admired. Some of us are to weak to ever aspire to such heights. Bravo sir, and well played.

    • Dear Epic,

      Your reply shows how good and strong a person you actually are.

      It is never too late to make your life happier and I suggest you begin with reaching out to your wife. Even if she was not your perceived “soulmate” she is your partner – and there were reasons at one time that you came together. Put the same effort you do in grieving (for your imagined lost opportunities) towards connecting with her and I promise you that you will have fewer regrets – and more satisfaction with your life.

      You can be her Jeff. Be persistent until she sees the man you truly are – and I know that even if it is not the the same connection you had with your friend from long ago – it will no longer be empty and “loveless”. Sometimes, as the song goes, you need to “love the one you’re with.”

      I could ramble on, but I think you get the idea. I wish you the best and wanted you to know that your reply touched my heart. (And Jeff’s, too.)

      Rhonda

  3. Deborah permalink

    Happy Valentine’s Day & Anniversary~ Valentine’s ❤

  4. This is such a great story, Rhonda! Thanks for sharing (in your fabulous story-telling way!) and thank GOD Jeff was/is the most patient man on the planet. 🙂 Happy Everyday to you.

  5. Diane Pickletush permalink

    I’m so disappointed that you didn’t mention me in this narrative. Since I set Jeff up with that other girl, it was actually my matchmaking that brought you two together! Thank me very much!

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