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Snow dampens Valentine’s Day celebrations
Ask anyone about the history of Valentine’s Day and you’re likely to hear stories about St. Valentine — but is that St. Valentine of Rome or St. Valentine of Terni who were martyred on February 14. And how did their martyrdom lead to a celebration of love anyway?
You’ll also, no doubt, hear others talk of the 1929 Chicago gang war, the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, in which seven mob figures were killed during Prohibition. No love there.
In truth, there’s no definitive history of Valentine’s Day, though everyone, no doubt, has his or her own story about the celebration.
This year’s story is colored white for snow that has local merchants watching their profits go up in smoke while Islanders are home bound, still digging their way out of what was close to two feet of snow on the ground and much higher drifts.
For Becky Smith, Valentine’s Day is typically one of her busiest days of the year because she is the proprietor of the Shelter Island Florist shop and it’s her job to procure, arrange and deliver the floral gifts that so many ordered for their sweethearts.
On Monday, in the wake of the storm, she was worried about deliveries that were to have arrived on Saturday. By Monday, many of the truckers who usually stock her shelves still weren’t able to leave their driveways up in Brookhaven, she said.
She was also awaiting word from customers who traditionally waited until the last minute to place their orders. And she was watching weather reports of another storm that was due to move up the coast Wednesday, hoping it wouldn’t drop more snow on the Island that would make Thursday’s deliveries difficult for her drivers.
At Shelter Island Heights Pharmacy, Greg Ofrias had his shelves stocked with heart-shaped boxes of candy, some plush items and balloons and an array of cards to help celebrants express their love for those special people in their lives. The store was one of the few Island businesses open during the weekend, but there weren’t a lot of holiday shoppers as people were concentrating more on absolute necessities.
Mary Lou Eichhorn at Cornucopia stocked up on Valentine chocolates, plush animals and lots of heart-shaped jewelry, but on the weekend before the big holiday, when she normally would have been doing a brisk business, the Island was at a standstill. By
Monday, she was expecting that people would begin to focus on the upcoming holiday.
Many Shelter Island restaurants are closed in February, but a handful of fine eateries are hoping a Wednesday storm won’t put a damper on their special plans for Thursday night’s dinner. Those who have advertised special holiday fare are Sweet Tomato’s, La Maison Blanche and 18 Bay. Sweet Tomato’s actually extended its celebration offering its Valentine’s Day dinner through Saturday night, so if Thursday’s weather doesn’t cooperate, owner Jimi Rando still has hopes that white snow won’t put the holiday business in the red.