Our 1st Valentine's Day dinner outcome may have warrented me hiding behind the pelt of a dead animal, but I had more dignity than that. Instead, I drank myself into a stupor.

It’s St. Valentine’s Day, 1984, just 55 years after 7 people were gunned down in the infamous Prohibition-era massacre in Chicago . No blood was shed in the not-quite-as-equally-infamous Meatloaf Maelstrom that came to be the most memorable meal Lorna and Chuck never shared.

I never claimed to be a Master Chef. Chuck knew that when he married me. I could bake chicken and make a fine meatloaf. He was the “Glory Cook” in the family. Whenever company came over, he would use pans, dishes, bowls and utensils we didn’t even own to whip up impressive meals. I would be in charge of clean-up.

Julia Child, take a hike. Chef Chuck is going to create French cuisine that even the French can't pronounce properly.

A pattern emerged that seemed to work. I did “utility cooking,” making one meatloaf (among other chicken-related meals) each week of our marriage (13 weeks at that point). Meatloaf leftovers made for great lunches since we were too poor to go out for lunch. Just about the time the meatloaf was gone, it was time to make another one.

I was unemployed, gerboozeled with alcohol, and wanted to make our first Valentine’s day special. An idea of such brilliance came to me, I had to put on sunglasses just to prevent myself from being blinded by my creative genius. I called Chuck at work and told him I was going to make him a “very special dinner” for Valentine’s Day as my gift to him. He was very happy–Ward Cleaver happy.

Yessiree! That's the kind of gal Chuck wanted to come home to every night. He also wanted that gal to have a good-paying job to help with expenses. He believed in equality between the sexes.

Driving drunk wasn’t illegal back, so I drove to the grocery store. Shopping drunk was okay, too. I hauled my swerving, grocery-ladden tush back to the apartment and began an afternoon of Special Meal Preparation. I called up Chuck again, teasing him with the notion of a fancy meal just for his enjoyment. He was giddy–Herman Munster giddy.

A wife I can finally be proud of. Oh goodie!

Special Meal Menu: twice-baked potatoes, cauliflower au gratin, home-baked bread, home-baked apple pie, and the centerpiece of the meal…are you ready? A 15 pound heart-shaped meatloaf. Magnificently superific, right? I learned to bake bread, pies and the other things, but this was my first attempt at shaping meatloaf. For some reason (probably my kertoasted brain cells), I thought that a sculpted meatloaf required three times as much ground meat. It turned out huge–just like my heart. I slathered it with ketchup so it was good and red. The thing took hours to cook.

Work with me. Pretend this is meatloaf, not grilled steak. Imagine the meatloaf this shape, but on a pizza pan. Rather than 16 oz., think 15 pounds of meat. Okay! Now you've got my masterpiece emblazoned into your mind.

I waited in schnockered anticipation for Chuck to come home to a nicely set table and this magical meal.

He came home all smiles until he smelled that familiar odor. His smile vanished. He said, “Please tell me you made spaghetti and meatballs.”

“No, Honey. Look, I made a heart-shaped meatloaf. Isn’t it perfect for Valentine’s Day?”

The gargantuan, ketchup-covered, labor-of-love sat on the table amongst the other food I’d lovingly prepared. He looked at it, then me. He walked away.

“What’s the matter?” I was truly baffled by his reaction.

“You have the nerve to call me at work twice to tell me that you’re making something really special for dinner tonight and you make another meatloaf?” He was visibly shaken, not stirred–James Bond Martini shaken.

Get. That. Meatloaf monstrosity. Away. From. Me...Now!

“But it’s heart-shaped and look at all the other good…” I tried to mention the other food, but he cut me off.

“The smell in here is sickening. I can’t eat any of this.”

Somewhere in my tearful apology, I bench-pressed the turkey platter displaying the meatloaf just to get it out of his sight. I ate alone, taking no comfort in one of America’s most popular comfort foods. I think Chuck ordered a pizza. Maybe he had some pie later, after I passed out in bed.

Humphrey and I ate a lot of meatloaf over the next few weeks.

I love ya, Mom, but could ya lighten up on the meatloaf? It's the garlic and onions. Other dogs in the hood are avoiding me.

When will enough be enough for Lorna or Chuck?