The time clock at the Inn measures the hours by decimals rather than minutes. When I punched out I had worked 12.12 hours, the same numbers as my birthday, 12/12. Chef shares my birthday as well, along with Frank Sinatra and Dionne Warwick.
3/3, one quarter of 12/12, is also a significant day for me because it is The Day of Gifts for No Reason. Unless you read my writing last year, it may not be a day you are aware of. Actually, it is, shall we say, a niche holiday, being significant only to Ginger and to me. And it’s not much of a holiday. I still had to work twelve hours.
Though Ginger and I had only been dating a short time, by the time March 3, 1989 rolled around, I was completely amazed that she was in my life. That year, like this one, March 3 fell on a Saturday. When I showed up to pick her up for our date, I had some flowers, a CD, and a theology book. The card I gave her said something like, “I’ve never dated anyone I could give flowers, a CD, and a theology book.” (Pretty good, huh?) I’ve given her those three things every year – except the one I forgot. This year, the book was The Faith Club, the CD was Colorblind by Robert Randolph and the Family Band (the man does serious things with a steel guitar), and, since I’ve worked twenty four hours in the last forty eight, the flowers are coming tomorrow.
The first time I did it, I was simply responding to the wonder in my heart. I wasn’t trying to start a tradition or to make a grand gesture. My actions expressed the joy of my astonishment: I was dating an amazing woman and finding resonance in ways I never imagined possible. It was the year I forgot – which was three or four years on — that I think sealed it as a Red Letter Day in our marriage. I remember going to bed that night and realizing something was bothering her. I pressed her to tell me and all she said was, “It’s March Third.”
My heart sank, not out of guilt as much as watching the opportunity to let her know I love her in a way that she really hears and feels it fly out the window. I missed my chance and there was no getting it back. I didn’t try. I didn’t go out and buy something on March 4. I realized that night what mattered was not the gifts as much as reaffirming the resonance we both felt so early on. I’m still as full of wonder and gratitude that I get to be with her this year as I was eighteen years ago. No, more.