History tells us that there was indeed a St. Valentine, a Roman soldier who lived a couple of hundred years into the Christian Era and who converted to Christianity. Before he was martyred, he was the epitome of kindness and caring, very different from the expected demeanor or persona of a Roman soldier.
Most of us remember Valentine's Day from our childhood and our yearly trips to the grocery store or Wal-Mart or some such retail venue to buy our big bag of Valentines so we could make them out and be prepared to give one to each of the kids in our homeroom class. As I recall, they were silly, often cheesy little two-liner sayings that inevitably ended with: "Be My Valentine." Most of us couldn't even figure out what that meant until we got closer to our teen years when the youthful crushes on another human being made us delighted and miserable all at the same time with newly discovered hormones in all their glory.
I wonder now if we don't get caught up in the greeting card frenzy just a little, but I do know that most people who have a significant "other" try to remember that person in a quality and authentic way. I never remember receiving a really expensive gift on Valentine's Day, but just being remembered and treated to that something special really meant a lot, especially when our kids were little and I felt like such a sexless drudge a good deal of the time. It's a wonder my Honey kept me around.
Just yesterday I read a really cute novella from one of my favorite authors, Cat Johnson
entitled Valentine Cowboys. It is no secret that I would probably love this book, sight unseen, as I really like cowboy romance as well as fine all of Cat Johnson's writing to be really fine--readable, good stories, balanced action, and characters that live as real people. And like all her stories, it brings real people into love situations that resonate with all of us. Two cowboys remember their experience when in 5th grade and their respective crushes on the same little girl that sat near them in the back row. Both received a message: "Meet me behind the monkey bars and I will give you a kiss." The boys missed out on the kiss when they began fighting over who was going to kiss her first, and from that time on decided they would never allow a woman to come between them again. Now, 12 years later, they again are in the presence of that little girl but now she is all grown up, and for one of those cowboys, the feelings come to the surface, feelings that haven't manifested themselves for over a decade. Yet, their friendship has matured and they are best buddies and neither man can conceive of a future without their friendship. So they make a proposition to their long-ago heart throb: Take us both or we walk away. It is a fun read, one that will probably take any reader back to those long ago elementary Valentine's Day traditions, possibly to our own heart throbs and remembering school chums who made our hearts zing just a little bit, no matter how young we were.
We all have our memories, and few of us have had some old school chum become a love interest later in life. But it's a fun thought, and its a novella that is beautifully written and which embraces the idea that those childish experiences could conceivably become the foundation for a mature relationship later in life.
I hope this Valentine's Day is a good experience, that re-visiting memories is a good thing, and if by some act of fate your heart is hurting this day, give it time . . . there's lots of love in the world and lots of people who can fill those empty places with friendship and kindness until that special someone comes along. Won't you all be my Valentine?