Gerb De Column Writer: Love potion

February 14, 1996. I still remember that day as if it were yesterday. The day of love. Also that year, at my then secondary school, in the middle of the Betuwe. I was in five Havo and was one of the six members of the Party Committee: the PEEV (Plus Est En Vous). Which means something like 'there's more in you'. We organized all kinds of things throughout the year. On some Friday evenings a nice film in the auditorium, which was then completely full. A big party in the local Village Hall and of course the annual Bluesnight, where every student could show his or her musical skills. But the best event was still the annual Rose Promotion on Valentine's Day. Any student who was (secretly) in love with a fellow student could sign up. We from the PEEV, made sure that your crush received a rose on this special day. With or without a ticket, of course. I felt like the king. With a bucket full of red roses I stepped back into each room. Just before I wanted to surprise my own classmates, I noticed something. I saw my own name on one of the cards. I didn't see that one coming. The girls in my class knew about it. I hadn't yet entered the classroom and one of them yelled: “So, do you know who owns your rose?” I turned red, really bright red. Just like my rose. I quickly handed out the roses and walked out of the classroom. There was no name on the card, but I soon heard that my rose came from a girl from the MAVO: Patricia.

Every time I saw her walking in the hallway between classes, she ducked. And I was such an unbelievable love affair back then that I never dared thank her for the rose. Well, you can check. One rose, which I am still talking about more than twenty years later. Now that is different. You only have to open any advertising brochure and there they are all: the expensive perfumes and the chocolate presents with which you can surprise your sweetheart. Of course the champagne is on sale again this 14th February. The ultimate love potion. Discovered in the 17th century and it quickly became a special drink. Both white and blue grapes provide the beautiful color and the addition of a little bit of sugar creates the bubbles in the bottle. Another thing that has transformed our clever commerce into something special. A suitable drink for every beautiful, pleasant event. I bet many of you have uncorked a bottle to celebrate being unable to do so for a month. You could almost fall in love with yourself. You were so proud. At least I was. But that rose from Patricia, long ago, felt just that little bit better inside.


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