Valentine's is not just another day of the week


February 14, 2002|By Lorraine Gingerich | Lorraine Gingerich,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

LIKE EVERYONE else, western Howard County residents are scrambling to surprise their loved ones with messages and gifts in celebration of Valentine's Day today.

Many people give cards, candy, flowers and other gifts to their sweethearts, friends and family members. Others opt for a night out at a restaurant. But when Valentine's Day falls on a weekday, it's a little more difficult to plan.

Board members of Western Howard County Soccer Inc. meet on the second Thursday of the month, and that's where you'll find Joan Orcutt tonight. "They will have their regular meeting that evening," said Orcutt, who lives near Glenelg. "Sounds romantic, huh?"

"Funny thing, only the women on the board seemed annoyed that we were not changing the meeting date," Orcutt said. But since her husband, Mitch, will be coaching the Villanova Wildcats, the western Howard County basketball team, Joan says she doesn't mind.

Their daughter Kendra plays on the team with Tracy Curtiss, Caitie Bassett, Kaitlin Drake, Christa Gouker, Melanie Holsten, Tara Kedia and Holly Pawtowski, all 11 years old. The girls will have their regular Thursday night practice at Pointers Run Elementary School.

Orcutt plans to make the best of her busy day. "Perhaps a bottle of wine later that night when the kids are asleep," she said.

Many groups see Valentine's Day as a way to spread joy to people other than immediate family and friends. Members of Junior Girl Scout Troop 921 will visit a nursing home in Fulton tonight to hand out Valentine's Day presents to residents. The sixth-grade girls, led by Faith Dillman of Highland and Kathy Deibler of Clarksville, made the gifts at a meeting Jan. 17.

John Pavlos of the Centaurs 4-H Horse and Pony Club says members marked the holiday early with their annual trip to The Little Sisters of the Poor home for the elderly in Catonsville. The club, which meets at the Howard County Fairgrounds, visited residents Saturday and presented them with homemade Valentine's Day gifts.

Many women would be pleased to receive Pavlos' gift to his wife, Sharon. "I ordered a dozen long-stemmed roses to be delivered to my better half at her office in Rockville," Pavlos said.

At Gemini Flowers and Gifts in West Friendship, business picks up weeks before the big day. Owner Betty Bennett of Sykesville said sales are slow from Christmas until they pick up in February. "Valentine's Day gives us a big boost," she said.

Bennett said roses are popular with men, at $70 a dozen, although a lot of men opt for a mixed arrangement with only a few of the traditional blooms. Gemini will be open until 8 p.m. today to take care of last-minute customers stopping by on their way home from work.

Esther Howland is given credit for starting the first business of selling Valentine's Day cards in the 1840s. Before that, valentines were homemade. Today, you can stop in almost any store and pick up a last-minute valentine for your honey.

But homemade valentines, like the ones made by the Girl Scouts and 4-H Club members, are special. Although making Valentine's Day cards is often a children's activity, a thoughtfully made valentine can charm your significant other - especially if the sentiment comes from the heart.

Neighbor in need

The members of Girl Scout Community 53 and their families have banded together to help an unemployed neighbor survive a financial crisis. Kathy Smith and Karen Johnson, both of Columbia, will perform and act as hosts for a benefit concert at 7 p.m. Sunday at Owen Brown Interfaith Center in Columbia.

The two have performed together at One World Coffeehouse and Harmony Hall retirement community, as well as at private parties. Their eclectic mix of songs promises to be an evening the family can enjoy. And, you will have an opportunity to help one of our neighbors in need.

Girl Scouts will be on hand to sell homemade goodies and drinks, with proceeds going to the neighbor, along with any donations collected at the concert. Other local artists are encouraged to perform.

To make a tax-deductible contribution to the family, send a check made out to St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 11795 Route 216, Fulton 21759, and indicate "Girl Scout Family in Need" on the memo line.

Talented students

Two River Hill High School students were among 300 semifinalists named in the 61st Intel Science Talent Search. Suneel Bhat and Britton Boras were chosen from among 1,562 entrants representing 173 high schools in 31 states, Guam and the District of Columbia.

Suneel and Britton will each receive $1,000, along with matching funds for River Hill High. Science Department instructional leader Barbara Jewett sponsored both students.

Synchronized skaters

Michelle Clementi of Clarksville and Sarah Eddy of Ellicott City skated with the Metroliners at the Eastern Synchronized Team Skating Championships in Lowell, Mass., on Feb. 1 and 2. The Metroliners, a youth synchronized-skating group, finished seventh in a lineup of 19 competitors representing clubs from Massachusetts to Georgia.

The event was endorsed by the U.S. Figure Skating Association.

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