BY CAROLYN LUCAS-ZENK | WEST HAWAII TODAY
Valentine's Day — it's an easy time to get caught in the web of love and festivity of the holiday.
Commercialized frenzy, sometimes cheesy sentimentality and unrealistic expectations seem to be at every turn, supposedly helping people find the most means to display their affection.
So, what do female West Hawaii residents and visitors actually want today?
Perhaps, The Beatles said it best when they sang, "All you need is love."
Kailua-Kona resident Sanne Berrig has "mixed" opinions about Valentine's Day.
"It really depends on whether you happen to be in a relationship that's happy or if you lost a loved one. If it's the latter, you tend to think of the day as a cruel corporate conspiracy," she said. "The first year after I went through a divorce, I loathed Valentine's Day, mostly because I was going through a difficult time."
This holiday so far has been good for Berrig. Already she got an unexpected call Monday from a local florist, who said there were flowers awaiting her on her lanai.
"While it's always nice to get something that expresses someone's emotion or gratitude, it's the unexpected that means so much more. It's important to do these types of things — not just on this day, but also throughout the year," she said.
Because her Valentine lives somewhere else, Berrig will have fish and chips at Quinn's Almost By The Sea with her "bestie" and stepmom, Wanda, who has shared stories about Berrig's romantic father who died 16 years ago.
If Berrig could have anything for Valentine's Day, it would be "that everyone feels love."
"The best way to get love is to give love," she said. "It sounds cheesy and like an answer given at a Miss America pageant, but I think love should be shared and spread around for everyone, so even the lonely feel loved and happy."
What Susan Suter of Tacoma, Wash., would like most this Valentine's Day is her husband, Wayne, who died three years ago. They were married for 38 years.
"I miss my husband. He would always get me flowers and cards, but the cards were his forté," she said. "He was very good at picking them out, whether it was my birthday, a holiday or just because. He put in a lot of effort."
While Suter has no expectations for today, she remains a believer in love.
"I believe in love and I'm ready find love again," she said.
Rhode Island resident Maria Bernal-Doherty said she and her husband, Kevin, have decided the feeling of love should be expressed year-round. These newlyweds have been married for three months.
"Our philosophy is you shouldn't have to use Valentine's Day to do something special, show your love and be lovely to each other. You should be that way all the time," Bernal-Doherty said. "Valentine's Day for us is just another day."
Their expectations for the day were realistic. "We've been having such a beautiful time here — scuba diving, camping, hiking and exploring the island over the past month. I couldn't expect anything more. He's the best Valentine," she said.
Carol Cass, of Seattle, Wash., described Valentine's Day as just like any other day, only hyped by commercialism.
"I typically don't think twice about the holiday," she said. "My husband, David, treats me well all year long, spoiling me by buying me flowers, chocolates and other goodies when he wants. He's always been like that: a romantic and a good husband. We've been married for 46 years."
While Cass holds no expectations for today, she wants to go out to dinner with her husband and he happily obliged by making reservations at their favorite spot.
"He's taking me to Jackie Rey's Ohana Grill. He knows those purple mash potatoes make me happy," she said.