Guest column: Red Sails …

Bill Thomas

On the morning of Feb. 14, 1977, after my wife, Soula had gone to work, I drove over to a local printer and purchased 14 sheets of RED letter-size paper.

At home again, I cut one long side of a cereal box. This thin piece of “cardboard” made it easy for me to cut. I penciled the shape of a heart on the clear inside of the cardboard, and then cut around the heart-shape with a pair of scissors to create a heart-shaped template.

I stapled four corners of seven sheets of RED paper together. I made two stacks of seven sheets each. I placed the template on the first stack of paper and traced the rim of the template onto the top sheet. I carefully cut the seven sheets to form seven RED paper hearts.

I repeated this process once again on the second batch of paper. I was pleased to find I had 14 perfectly shaped RED hearts.

My purpose in this “activity” was to prepare a special Valentine Dinner for my lovely wife.

I had also arranged for a local restaurateur to prepare and deliver a special “ALL-RED” dinner by 4 p.m. I then placed a brief, hand-written note on the floor near the front door, especially careful that the note didn’t get lost or hidden when Soula opened the door.

The note stated, “Follow the path of the 14 RED hearts which will lead you to my heart.”

I laid the fourteen RED paper hearts on the carpet in the living room, around to the dining room table which I had covered with a RED tablecloth, RED napkins and two, tall RED candles (that I had just lit when I heard the opening of the front door.)

I stood quietly near the table with a RED napkin draped over my left wrist (waiter-style,)

Also, on the table were two plates (I couldn’t find any RED plates or RED water glasses …) but I had poured RED wine into the “proper” wine glasses, along with placing a salad bowl consisting of some lettuce, RED sliced radishes, and RED sliced tomatoes and RED sliced beets, and some other RED stuff the restaurateur had mixed into the salad.

Soula (nearly speechless, and wondering what was next) sat in the chair I invited her to sit in, with me, acting just like a well-trained waiter (with a RED necktie).

Then, I stepped over to the oven and withdrew a large plate on which were two nearly RED steaks. I placed one steak on each of our two plates and removed the RED napkin from my wrist.

Next, I turned my tape-recorder on to hear “Red Sails in the Sunset.” We ate and sipped.

The evening had a climatic ending.