The sentence began with:
"Valentine's Day is..."
Many of you responded - some by posting a response, some by e-mailing me, and others by sharing it verbally in person or on the phone.
I liked Elle's take when she said it was "the only day it is compulsory to say "I love you", the other 364 days, you say it because you want to."
Sean's response "the stupidest day I love" cracked me up and totally fit his personality.
For years I've called it "The Superbowl of Gondola cruises".
It's also become "The day when we find out just how good our operation is, or needs to be".
Sometimes it seems like "A time in the middle of winter when the wind blows hard, knocking all the nuts off the trees. We're just a bunch of squirrels who scurry around and gather up as many nuts as we can in hopes of making it till spring."
Some of my gondoliers have referred to it as:
"A pain in the butt"
And I have observed it to be "One of the only days in Newport where we literally see gondola traffic".
Someone anonymously submitted that it was "a pefect occasion to simulate a gondola sinking so the couple can propose Titanic-style." I can't say I've had to do that yet, but nothing surprises me any more.
Valentine's Day doesn't always go the way you'd like it to.
I've endured some nasty weather conditions in years past.
There are other factors to consider too;
Robert Dula in Huntsville, Alabama e-mailed me
“Valentine’s Day is… an empty lake, full of broken hearts.” (they are still trying to fix the leak in the lake).
Robert's not alone either; I got word two days before the big day that a gondola operator in Australia showed up to find that the lake he operates on had accidentally drained, leaving one gondola sitting in the mud and the other hanging by her dock lines. With no hope that enough rain would fall before the 14th, he was out of luck.
There are those who don't operate during winter, and for good reason.
John Kerschbaum, who runs gondolas in the Minneapolis area, told me that his waterways are usually frozen about one to two feet thick right now.
John has come out from Minnesota each year for the last four years to row with us for the big day, he refers to Valentine's Day as "a great excuse to go to California".
It's been a few days since the 14th, and I'm happy to add one more response to the pile:
"Valentine's Day is...over. Thank God".
"...the loneliest day of the year
for a hard-working gondolier"
Valentine's Day is...usually celebrated the day after by gondoliers...by sleeping in!
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