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Valentine’s Day Perspective

Written by Leslie Criss

“Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.” — Zora Neale Hurston

Someone took me to task recently about my distaste for Valentine’s Day.

I offered up my reasons, which I believe to be good ones, in defense of my disliking the day.

“My college roommate was the most popular girl on campus and on Valentine’s Day our room filled up with flowers — none of them mine.”

I offered other more compelling reasons, to no avail.

This person, for whom I have great respect, told me to “get over it, and do something special this Valentine’s Day for somebody. That’ll give you a new perspective on the day.”

Why didn’t I think of that? What better way to spend Valentine’s Day than doing things for people who live in my heart’s neighborhood?

So, I’ve accepted the challenge. And I’m even going an extra step.

I’ve discovered a good memory from a long-ago Valentine’s Day. Bittersweet, yes. But still good.

It was candy spotted on a store shelf that made me remember.

Red Hots.

More than a decade ago on an unseasonably warm Friday the 13th in February, I stood beside my grandmother as we watched her husband and my grandfather take his final breath.

In the hours that followed, funeral food and family began to arrive in great abundance at my grandparents’ red brick home in Grenada.

And early Saturday morning my father and his three brothers helped their mother make those decisions that must be made when one is planning a funeral.

My sister and I stayed at the house with our mother, greeting those who dropped by with kind words and casseroles.

That it happened to be Valentine’s Day was forgotten — by me and surely all the rest of my family.

Near noon my dad returned to the house. He carried a white paper sack.

From the sack he removed two bright red objects. He handed one to me, the other to my sister.

He’d bought for each of us a clear plastic bear filled with Red Hots — a gift from a dad to his daughters.

It was amazing then; it remains so today.

In the middle of a sad day in February when he was dealing with the death of his own father, our dad thought to buy gifts for his girls — both in our 30s.

Certainly a Valentine’s Day to remember.

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