The Groovy Way We Celebrate Valentine’s Day

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No chocolate. No roses. No diamonds or champagne. And no fancy restaurant. Nope, Mr. Groovy and I share our love all year long and don’t buy into the hype. So what’s the groovy way we celebrate Valentine’s Day? We go to Sonic!

Sonic is a fast food joint where you eat in your car. First you drive into a stall and park, and then speak your order into a microphone. Your food is served to you by carhops on roller skates. Think of having a burger in the parking lot of Arnold’s Drive-In on “Happy Days.”

Sonic is known for their famous slushes, burgers, and tots. We usually go for the mozzarella sticks, onion rings, and junior cheeseburgers. On Valentine’s Day we might spring for a sundae or an ice cream cone too.

Going to Sonic on Valentine’s Day is a holdover of sorts from a tradition we had in New York. Every Valentine’s Day on Long Island we went to White Castle. In case you don’t know, White Castle is the home of the little square hamburgers—or belly bombs, as we affectionately call them. White Castle describes its “The Original Slider” as a 2×2-inch 100% beef patty, served on a steamed bun with pickles and onions. Sliders are sold as singles or doubles, with or without cheese. Or if you’re really hungry you can purchase a Castle Pack, which contains 7, 8 or 9 belly bombs; a Sack, which contains 10; a Crave Case, which contains 30; or a Crave Crate, which contains 100.

“Our” White Castle was located right next to the Long Island Railroad station in a town called Lynbrook. And its clientele was even more dubious than its location. We had “our booth,” which was a safe distance from the bathroom’s pungent chemical odor, and close enough to the entrance so we could quickly escape if one of the patron’s went berserk.

The tradition of going to White Castle began one year when we got fed up trying to find a restaurant that didn’t jack up its prices for Valentine’s Day. We were really only in the mood for something simple and didn’t feel like getting ripped off. So we decided to be different, and the White Castle tradition was born.

We intended to continue the tradition in North Carolina, but after we moved here we realized there are no White Castles in the entire state!  So we substituted Sonic for White Castle. The burgers at Sonic are actually pretty good. They don’t require Tums for dessert. We like the mozzarella sticks and onion rings even more (except when we get a soggy batch). Our Sonic is in a good neighborhood, the staff is pleasant, and the clientele is mostly normal. And we don’t have to worry about making a quick get-away.

After we’re done eating at Sonic, we take a drive on our favorite local highway—Route 601. Quaint farms and cottages are scattered on both sides of the road. We see chickens, donkeys, goats, and an occasional pig. Then it’s back home for a night of intense passion (i.e., reading and listening to a rollicking podcast). If we really want to go wild, we top off the evening with Sangria or some chocolate moonshine we picked up in Kentucky.

We’re lame, yes? It’s OK if you think so because we just love the simple life. And we enjoy sharing quirky little rituals which become meaningful to us, but that no one else “gets.” Sonic is one of those rituals.

When I began writing this post, a memory came to me about the first Valentine’s Day Mr. Groovy and I experienced as a couple. We had only been dating a little over a month and he had committed to a family trip to Florida. While he was away, Mr. Groovy phoned me on the evening of Valentine’s Day. He waited patiently to hear me describe the dozen beautiful roses he sent me. But they hadn’t arrived. If I remember correctly they were delivered the next day. Mr. Groovy was very disappointed but I wasn’t. I was just thrilled he had been thinking about me.

During his week in Florida, Mr. Groovy’s sister made fun of him because he often excused himself to go back to his room. He was spending time alone, writing a poem for me!  He presented it to me when he returned, even though it was still a work-in-progress. That poem, and the fact that he used to carry my books for me when we attended graduate school, sealed the deal for marriage.

I wish I could recall the words of the poem. I haven’t seen it in years. Mr. Groovy might remember. Either way, he’s got some SPLAINING to do. Why didn’t he ever finish it? Would it be poetic justice (pun intended) to put “Write a new poem for Mrs. G” on his to-do list this week? Just in time for Valentine’s Day!

Final Thoughts

Love can be celebrated with a few scrawny hamburgers and greasy onion rings. The important thing is we’re together and having fun.

How are you going to celebrate Valentine’s Day?

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12 Comments

  1. I love hearing about other people’s fun traditions like this. This is really sweet. Cheers to burgers and onion rings! We’ll probably use one of our gift cards that we have squirreled away to eat out somewhere. We also try to buy each other one of their favorites – for example, when I grocery shop this weekend, I’ll probably scoop up some of Mr. P’s favorite ice cream. He might bring me a chai latte or something like that. It’s nothing big, but they’re treats we don’t normally indulge in – and we know the other person loves them.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      It’s those little things that mean the most because they tell you your SO is really paying attention to what you like. Thanks for reminded me I have some $ left on a Dunkin Donuts gift card. We certainly won’t let that go to waste! I hope you enjoy your dinner, Penny.

  2. Oh man, I love Sonic! Those slushies!

    Peach and I celebrate Valentine’s Day in special way too, we do it on the 15th. It’s a throwback to our first V-Day when he had to work so we couldn’t be together. We planned to just do dinner together on the 15th (at the dining hall in college #frugalwin). He ended up buying me a bunch of chocolates and a stuffed animal and I politely said, “Ummm – why did you buy all this?” He goes, “It was 75% off today!” Ever sense we celebrate on the 15th and will each buy a silly token (usually candy) at a massive discount.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      You know I’ve never had one of those slushes? I prefer to eat my sugary calories rather than drink them, but I’ll have to try one. I love your throw-back story, Broke Millennial, and that your gifts were 75% off the day after V-Day. That’s great, celebrating on the 15th! I’ll bet you still have the stuffed animal.

  3. Sonic sounds delicious. Like you guys, we’re sick of trying to get a reservation at a fancy shmancy place with a limited menu and jacked-up prices. Instead, this year we’re hitting a bacon/beer & chocolate/wine festival at a local winery. There aren’t any reservations to make or tickets to purchase. The event is running from noon to 6pm on Saturday. I’m sure it won’t be a “cheap” day, but it’s an experience that we will remember. And, we made sure to set aside cash for it. We’ve been excited for weeks 🙂

    Also, thanks for the stroll down memory lane. I used to spend many weekend vising friends on Long Island. I would take Amtrak to NYC and then hop on the LIRR and get off in Huntington Station. Not sure how close it is to your old stomping grounds, but I’ll never forget a wing joint called Totally Wings. They had a dragon painted on the wall and it turned into a Sunday lunch tradition for a few years. Ahhh…good times.

    Enjoy your Valentine’s burgers!

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Hi MMMM, that event you’re going to is right up our alley. It sounds wonderful. Enjoy! And I agree it’s worth it for the experience. I’ve been to Huntington Station only a few times. I recall a book store and a movie theater but not Totally Wings. We’ll have to ask some of Mr. G’s friends who still live on LI about it. I’m sure the dragon makes it pretty identifiable.

  4. Yea Mr. Groovy, why didn’t you finish your poem? Finish it for the missus! She loves you! =)

    You guys sound so nice and so cute. One time on our first V day, my bf and I went to one of those fancy restaurants. Unfortunately it was about an hour wait, so we just decided to go to one of our favorite Mexican restaurants, where we got a seat within about 10 minutes. Last year we spent around $30-35 on V day altogether. So yea we keep it affordable too.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Mr. Groovy may need to write me a new poem. He doesn’t remember either. I think those fancy restaurants overbook. Or they’re over-confident. They believe they have a captive audience. I bet you had a better time at your Mexican restaurant, anyway. Have fun with your BF on V Day!

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Hi Laura Beth, well put. Love is love. I like that! The important thing is to do what makes us happy. I hope you enjoy your Valentine’s day however you plan to spend it. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Sounds like a Groovy time will be had tomorrow 🙂 Our business is open 7 days a week so we will be working.Before we open I’m going to take my wife to a local nursery and buy her another fruit tree.Hopefully, the nursery has a Sapodilla or Atemoya tree in stock. My wife would rather have something she can plant rather than cut roses.That way it’s a gift that keeps on giving for many years to come 🙂

    I don’t have any “Chocolate Moonshine”, but I do have a container of Sanders Salted Caramels and a bottle of Bacardi 151. That’s pretty close . Haha

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Hey Bobby, I hope you picked out a good fruit tree today. I agree about getting a gift that keeps on giving. We didn’t stick with our traditional Sonic feast. It’s about 15 to 20 degrees colder than usual today, which makes it difficult to sit in a car and eat. We went for lunch at a place called Pinky’s Westside Grill. It’s been on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives with Guy Fieri. We satisfied our yen for deep-fried pickles! Mr. Groovy is now doing his intermittent fasting – he goes without eating from after dinner on Sunday until dinner on Monday. In solidarity, I’m not going to drink tonight. Enjoy your Bacardi!