You may be seeing red today. No, I don’t mean that you’ll be mad, I’m talking about it being Valentine’s Day! Of course, if your sweetie doesn’t lavish you with flowers, candy and a card, you might actually be mad after all. But love conquers all.

Valentine’s Day was a major event when we were in grade school. I remember making those pouch thingies out of construction paper and that nasty paste that came in the little jar that you smeared around with the stick that was attached to the inside of the lid. That paste was discontinued, I think, because too many kids were eating it. Talk about something sticking to your ribs! Then along came Elmer’s Glue, which was fun to cover your hands in, then let it dry so you could peel it off. We were poor but we had imagination.

Then one by one, we’d all go up and match our carefully filled out valentines with the names on everyone’s pouch thingies and collect them when everyone was finished. Usually we’d get the same kind of valentines that we’d sent out. And once in a blue moon there’d be that one valentine in your pouch thingy from a secret admirer. Cupid must’ve been lurking nearby.

You’d quickly look all around the room to see if you could find someone making goo-goo eyes at you, hoping beyond hope it was the one you’d had a crush on but were too scared to show it because: 1) you were too shy, or 2) they were of the opposite sex and therefore must have cooties.

Right about then I’d peer into my pouch thingy and wonder how many cards in there had cooties on them. Young love—it’s a wonder we survived it.

In later years you might’ve graduated to passing notes. That was foolish. Often the notes were intercepted and read by fellow students who wouldn’t give them back and would threaten to let everyone read it unless you gave them the moon pie your mom had packed in your lunchbox. And if the teacher ever intercepted one, you may as well have crawled in a hole and pulled it in after you because you knew they were going to read it out loud to the rest of the class. I think it’s a mandatory part of college for becoming a teacher. You have to learn note interception skills and be able to read mushy puppy love stuff with a straight face. That’s gotta be tough.

You know the rest. You “go steady,” even though you never actually go anywhere together. You carve your initials on trees or leave them behind in wet cement. That one can haunt you for awhile, believe me. In fact, they last longer than most marriages do these days.

You can wish on a star, toss a penny into a wishing well, have your fortune read, consult the Magic 8 Ball, or play with one of those spooky Ouija boards and I still don’t think your chances at love are any greater. Remember this, many flower has been plucked baldheaded with that old “she loves me, she loves me not” routine and still nothing has been proven.

Love is a many spendored thing, love is a burning thing and love is what makes the world go ‘round. Love is in the air, love is never having to say you’re sorry and love even blind. Love is love, so accept it when it’s real and appreciate it.

Wear red today and show some love wherever you go. This world needs it and it’ll do you some good as well. Open up your heart and be somebody’s valentine. You can’t give everyone flowers and candy and cards, but at least give them a smile. And I hope you get some valentines back, in the form of a smile. Or maybe even some real ones in your construction paper/paste pouch thingy.

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