The road to Valentine’s Day is fraught with danger and excitement.
It was a dark and stormy night and I was sitting in the nice, cozy basement of Chateau Pap Smear, sheltered from the blizzard. I was just zoning out watching those hunky twin Property Brothers on HGTV. Drew had just closed on the couple’s dream Fix-er-up-er and Johnathon was revealing the big re-model job to the buyers. I was caught off guard by a commercial for Sherrie’s Berries, followed immediately by an advertisement for Vermont Teddy Bears.
Oh! MY! GAWD! It’s Valentine’s Day season again. That most awkward, artificial, contrived, commercial reason that the greeting card companies have guilt us into spending money. According to the National Retail Federation, only about 55 percent of Americans celebrate Valentine’s Day, but those who do will shell out an average of $146.84. Holy crap, Beatrice! That’s a lot of chocolate! I just need to remember that in my etiquette classes, Miss Manners always stressed, “Never eat anything larger than my head.”
Every year when I have attempted to give a heart-shaped box of chocolate candy to the object of my affection, I usually was found hiding behind the sofa, having eaten the whole box before delivery.
I’ve always been a little bit unclear about the rules of love governing Valentine’s Day, but as close as I can figure out, you try and stab or shoot someone in the heart. Then you give them roses and chocolate and if they live, you have to survive through six more weeks of American Idol.
This brought some memories of my most memorable Valentine ever. Way back in 1999, during the Cretaceous Period, I had purchased a house in Logan. I know, it even had a cement foundation and everything. No more Trailer Trash for this Queen.
There is one inevitable event that occurs when a person moves in Utah. If by chance you have been able to slip undetected between the surly bonds of the ward directory, sometimes you can remain, in plain sight, for many years without being noticed. But, If you move to a different address, you draw undue attention to yourself. This became manifest to me, the month after purchasing the house Logan. The deacons came around gathering fast offerings. Silly me, I should have never answered the door. I tried to explain to the boys that I was not a member and that they had the wrong address.
Well, wouldn’t you know that the next month, the bishop’s first counselor came along with the fast offering deacons? I carefully explained to the Brother (in my best Blanche Devereaux voice) that it would be best if they just went ahead and removed me from the membership rolls of the church. He said that he would pass that information along to the bishop. Well, the next month I got a phone call from the bishop asking for a meeting. I told him to just go ahead and take my name off of the membership. He said that he couldn’t do that.
Finally I had to go and have a meeting with both the bishop and stake president and insist they take my name off the records of the church. They said the only way was to proceed to a church court. They scheduled my church court to be on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1999.
Nothing quite says, “I love you, would you be my Valentine,” like a church excommunication court.
I received the following Valentine:
Dear “Sister Pap Smear,” This notice is to inform you that on 14 February, 1999, a disciplinary council was held in your behalf for conduct unbecoming a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, specifically homosexual relations, which is contrary to the laws and order of the Church. We are saddened that you chose not to attend the council and were not able to feel the love your brethren have for you. We wish to advise you that the decision of the council is that of excommunication from the Church. You are also informed that as a person who has been excommunicated you are no longer a member of the Church. You do not enjoy any blessings of privileges of Church membership. You may not wear temple garments or pay tithes and offerings.
This was great! Much better than getting a big heart-shaped box of chocolate. I just got told I could wear sexy, fun underwear of my own choosing, and I got a 10 percent raise in salary at the same time. Well, it seemed like a very good reason to have a party.
Quickly, I invited all my friends to my excommunication party. A few years earlier, I was able to purchase some old sacrament trays at Deseret Industries. So I made some lime green Jell-o shots, which I served from the bread trays, and then served some peach Schnapps shots from the water trays. I invited a drag queen friend to perform Annie Lennox’s “Missionary Man,” complete with missionary strippers. Oh and of course, everything was topped off with a large serving of funeral potatoes.
This story leaves us with several important questions:
- Do you think if I had just given the deacons some Valentine candy, I could have avoided all this?
- Does Hallmark have a greeting card for excommunication?
- If I’m eating a cheese that is larger than my head, is that called head cheese?
- Should I develop and market excommunication-themed parties?
- Should I name these parties the Perdition Party Package?
- Does this give me the title, Outer Darkness Diva?
These and other eternal questions shall be answered in future chapters of the Perils of Petunia Pap Smear.