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Carpe Diem, Valentine

February 14, 2017

Today I offer all grown-up readers some Valentine’s Day advice, which is heavily derived from my reading of a book entitled The Sweet Potato Queens’ Book of Love many years ago.

This is the advice: If you enjoy flowers, go out and get yourself some. I don’t care if they cost more today than they will tomorrow—if that bothers you or you don’t have enough money for the big bouquet you’d really like, find yourself one small sweetheart rose, or a little primrose in a pot. If you’re at the point in the long, gray winter when you really want some chocolate, go out and get the kind you like best. There’s an amazing variety of it available right now.

Don’t tell me you can’t afford it; didn’t you buy your child or your pet a little something just the other day? You deserve something nice today. Don’t sit around waiting for anybody else to get it for you. Go out and get it yourself. If you want to share with someone else, fine. But it’s not anyone else’s job to guess what you want and bring it home at the end of the day.

In Jill Conner Browne’s book The Sweet Potato Queens’ Book of Love, she explains why she and her friends decided
“to declare ourselves Queens of whatever we chose. No pageants for us. No way would we ever consider groveling and posturing for a bunch of strangers…in the pitiful hope that, for reasons of their own, they would decide to give us their paltry crown.”

The Sweet Potato Queens, she explains, are “real live grown-up women—self-sufficient and self-actualized. But we were crownless, one and all.” So what did they do? They went out and got themselves crowns and wore them in the local St. Patrick’s Day parade, after which she wrote four books about it.

I say don’t wait until St. Patrick’s Day to provide yourself with some of what you crave. It’s February, for God’s sake. Everyone needs something to help them get through the month.

As Jill says in one of her later books, The Sweet Potato Queens’ Big-Ass Cookbook and Financial Planner, “No matter how bad your childhood was, it’s over. If you didn’t get real majorette boots then, get some now.”

Whatever it is you want, no matter how silly you think it is, find a way to get some of it today.

And if you’d like to read The Sweet Potato Queens’ Book of Love, look for it in your local library–if they don’t have it, then let me know and I’ll see what I can do.


11 Comments leave one →
  1. February 14, 2017 5:29 pm

    Thanks for sharing this, Jeanne. I need to go and buy myself the jewelry that I want. This settles it. 🙂

    • February 14, 2017 5:44 pm

      Yes, fathers of five-year-olds don’t always have the time and energy to search out the perfect piece for you–only you can do that!

  2. Elizabeth Johnson permalink
    February 15, 2017 8:56 am

    I’ll be looking for this book at my local library. Totally agree with the premise of getting my own version of a crown.

    • February 15, 2017 9:44 am

      The other thing I like about these books is that they come with descriptions of food and recipes–one of my favorite recipes, “death chicken” (because you can take it to funerals) comes from the second book in this series.

  3. February 15, 2017 2:50 pm

    Wonderful advice for any day!

    • February 15, 2017 3:02 pm

      Glad you think so…if you haven’t read these books, you might want to try the first one.

  4. February 15, 2017 10:50 pm

    Yes! This is so right on!

  5. Karen K. permalink
    February 17, 2017 12:36 am

    Great advice! I loved these books, not just because of all the great recipes. I think a lot of people need to be encouraged to practice self-care, especially now.

    • February 17, 2017 11:06 am

      I don’t disagree, but I’ve gotten to kind of hate the entitlement I see when women discuss “self-care.” I’d like to see more women weighing their options for how much time they spend on the things most important to them, and bragging less about how busy they are.

      • February 17, 2017 11:13 am

        What can I say that I have not said before?
        So I’ll say it again.
        The leaf has a song in it.
        Stone is the face of patience.
        Inside the river there is an unfinishable story
        and you are somewhere in it
        and it will never end until all ends.

        Take your busy heart to the art museum and the
        chamber of commerce
        but take it also to the forest.
        The song you heard singing in the leaf when you
        were a child
        is singing still.
        I am of years lived, so far, seventy-four,
        and the leaf is singing still.

        “What Can I Say” by Mary Oliver

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