Enjoying a fulfilling Valentine’s Day weekend

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 17, 2004

I did more activities this past Valentine’s Day than I ever have in a lifetime. In doing so, I was glad to discover that this special day is not only meant to be full of fun, love and surprises for sweethearts and married couples, but also the same for singles.

I want to commend The Agape Love Ministry and Mt. Ararat Christian Church. These groups of people observed Valentine’s Day in exciting ways and included me in their celebrations.

I was told by Ann Saunders from Mt. Ararat and Judy Lamb with the Agape Love group just to come and enjoy myself. This was welcome news because, believe it or not, sometimes we reporters want to just go out and let our hair down like everyone else.

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Early on Valentine’s Day, I served as hostess to my Les Gemmes sisters. When we get the chance to meet, we all enjoy preparing good meals for these occasions. I served a Valentine feast through a catering service. The serving table was covered with a Valentine tablecloth, cups and napkins. After the main course of shrimp, chicken livers, gizzards and wings, macaroni and cheese, cole slaw, potato chips and dip and sodas, there were little decorated Valentine cupcakes for everyone to enjoy.

At 5:30 p.m. I was enroute to Family Affair on Jackson Road for a Valentine Banquet sponsored by Mt. Ararat where the Rev. H. Harvey Murriel Sr. is pastor. Never was there a dull moment. The room was decorated in red and white and everyone who attended was asked to wear the same colors for a contest near the end of the event.

Darlene Skeeter did an excellent job as the mistress of ceremony. When each person entered the banquet room, he or she were given miniature colored clothespins and a raffle ticket. Skeeter then told the audience to pin the clothespins on themselves and if they heard anyone say the word &uot;valentine,&uot; they could take that person’s clothespin. The person who had the most of them pinned to them at the end of the program would receive a prize.

Four people had the opportunity of taking the word &uot;love&uot; and giving about a four-minute presentation. They were the Rev. Branch, Elder Brian Outlaw and Evangelists Lenora Barnes and Diane Artis. After each speech Skeeter summed their topic up giving little hints to try to make someone in the audience say ‘that word’ so that some clothespin snatching could begin. The fun was seeing people all around the room making that mistake and grunts of disgust when they did.

After a delicious dinner, the raffle was held and other interesting drawings that included someone who was wearing red stockings, a red hat, a red tie, and the best dressed.

Singles had the opportunity to have fun with these categories, and then there was also a drawing for the best-dressed couple. There were so many red suits and dresses worn by so many couples that the judges gave the audience the opportunity of picking the couple by a sound of applause.

The Suffolk Community Male Chorus presented gospel selections and Roland Wilson, baritone, sang a special dedication to all ladies titled, &uot;You are So Beautiful.&uot; Others making an appearance were Regina Copeland, Warner Saunders, Keith Reid, Rosa Gibbons, Denita Baker, and Annie Saunders.

Program committee members were Marilyn West, chairperson; Cathy Copeland, Ann Saunders Rosa Gibbons, Louvenia White, Keith Reid, Arrington Pittman, and Deborah Hall.

On Feb. 15, my son Mark and I were invited by Judy Lamb, the sponsor of the Agape Love CD Ministry, to join them aboard the Spirit of Norfolk for a love cruise.

Lamb said that the boat ride and ministry is neither about couples, nor marriage or being single but unconditional love and that is what was being celebrated this past last weekend.

We were on the program to demonstrate and lead the group into line dances. Other interesting events of the boat ride included a delicious dinner, music from Minister Earl Bynum and Minister of Music Linda Holley. Annette Ruffin, a comedian with the ministry, was also on the program. Her act was followed by drawings in the categories of the most popular single person on board and the most popular married couple. To select a winner from these categories everyone aboard had to fill out a slip of who they thought this couple or person should be. They could even select themselves and, to make everything fair, a drawing was done from a singles’ basket and a couples’ basket.

So much for my Valentine weekend. These programs were just so great that I didn’t want the time to pass by without giving my readers an idea that they can also have the same kind of fun with singles and couples next Valentine’s Day.

These groups made a lot of couples renew and rekindle their love and a lot of singles felt also loved and wanted by putting forth this extra effort.

Evelyn Wall is a staff writer and a regular columnist for the News-Herald. She can be contacted at 934-9615 or via e-mail: evelyn.wall@suffolknewsherald.com