Well, it’s the season of love, right? And we should be working on our glittery heart cards, ordering dozens of overpriced red roses, hunting down giant boxes of chocolates (I recommend a Whitman’s Sampler), and making reservations for a romantic dinner.
We are living in a different time at the moment. Seriously, the world is upside down, so why not shake up Valentine’s Day while we’re at it. Instead of long-stem red roses, plant a rosebush or tree together. My husband and I are on the hunt for a Southern Magnolia tree to plant to celebrate the new book, so that’s going to be my sweetheart gift this year. Instead of hunting down giant boxes of candy, make your own together and then maybe make an appetizer or two to go along with it so no fancy dinner reservations have to be made. I think we are going to try making some peanut butter bon-bons.
In Under the Magnolias, our young hero Vance Cumberland will eventually figure out the true meaning of romance and it certainly doesn’t fit the red hearts and shiny mylar balloons. Romance is found in the meaningful moments that are both thoughtful and intentional.
Here’s one of my favorite scenes in the book where Vance shows the simplicity of good romance while he dances with Austin on a dirt road…
I bit my lip to tame the grin, but nothing could contain it during the bumpy ride down the old farm road.
A song came on the radio, catching my attention. “Ooh, will you turn it up?”
“You like this song?” Vance did as I asked, smiling as he glanced over at me.
I stopped humming along. “Yes. I think it’s called ‘Heaven’ by Bryan Adams.”
Vance put the truck in park and hopped out. He rounded the front of the truck, his form flashing in the beams of the head- lights. My door opened and then he was helping me get out.
I giggled. “What are you doing?” “Dancing with my lady.” Vance wrapped my arms around his neck and then placed his hands on my hips, swaying us to the slow melody.
We danced quietly, listening to the angsty lyrics about love lighting the way and being all that we needed.
“I think this should be our song.”
I lifted my head and our gazes connected, much the way I felt our hearts had. Natural, as if it were meant to happen all along. “I think you’re right.”
Vance’s head tilted back as he chuckled. “Finally she admits I’m right about something.” He angled forward and gave me a soft kiss as the song concluded. Too bad there was no way to set the radio on repeat.
Before we let go, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” came on, sending Vance into a silly hip-swinging dance with his hands lifted in the air. He pranced around me in the dark as I could do nothing but stand there and laugh.
“I love your laugh, Austin Foster!” Vance nearly sang his words, so carefree and sweetly boyish. “I wish you would do it more often!” He danced over and gave me a popping kiss, making me laugh more.
Truly, it felt good to just laugh and be silly. Life hadn’t afforded me many lighthearted moments, so I indulged in it until the song came to an end.
I don’t know about you, but a good romantic moment can become magical if laughter is added. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be so serious. Lighten it up a bit this year. Make a dirt road, field, or yard your dancefloor. Be intentional and thoughtful in whatever you do for your Valentine. This year is a pass to mix things up. It’s my theme for 2021. I encourage you to make it your theme as well.