We’ve been sailing since we left Easter Island this past Saturday afternoon, and are scheduled to arrive in Tahiti tomorrow morning, February 16. Since leaving Ft. Lauderdale on January 6th, our total cruise distance to date is 13,457 miles. Valentine’s Day on the ship was beautiful – the crew really went out of their way to make it special – red decorations were suspended or displayed around the entire ship. The adjacent photo was taken last evening in the main dining room – the balloon you see was a full two stories tall. We attended a short lecture yesterday on the history of St. Valentine’s Day. Apparently, under the rule of Emperor Claudius II, Rome was involved in many unpopular campaigns. Claudius was also known as “Claudius the Cruel”, and he had a tough time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. He believed that the reason was that the Roman men didn’t want to leave their wives and families. As a result, Claudius cancelled all marriages & engagements in Rome – this guy was a lousy leader & poor motivator! Well, Saint Valentine was a priest in Rome at the time. He and Saint Marius were helping the Christians by secretly marrying couples. For this very kind deed, Saint Valentine was apprehended and dragged before the Prefect of Rome who then condemned him to death. He was martyred on February 14th, about the year 270 (I know that’s important to you). Legend also says that St. Valentine left a farewell note for the jailer’s daughter, who had become his friend. Yeah…right…his FRIEND!! Anyway, he signed the note, “From Your Valentine”. Pope Gelasius then set aside February 14th to honor St. Valentine. Gradually, over time, February 14th became the date for the exchanging of love messages and St. Valentine became the patron saint of lovers – the date was marked by sending poems and simple gifts such as flowers. So that’s the story…I have my own version of what happened between Valentine and the jailer’s daughter, but this is a family website so I won’t go into it. But I’ll leave you today with a smile!!