512 Words

Valentine's Day

Mark Hansen

Valentine's Day has come and gone for this year, and I only got one small present. That may sound like I'm complaining, but I'm not, for it was the most wonderful gift I have ever received on that special day.

Commercialism has ruined many of our annual celebrations---Easter, Christmas, Mother's Day, Father's Day. The true meaning is often lost in advertising hype. There are ready-made cards for every occasion, so it's easy to pick someone else's words and send them to a loved one. That's what was different about the card that went with this present---it was hand made. My daughter was the first to inform me of its arrival, late in the afternoon.

"Daddy, I'm ringing you about a surprise. A Valentine's Day card is here for you. I went down to check the mail-box and it was just there. Isn't that exciting?"

"That's great darling. I wonder who it's from?" Who would send me a card, addressed to my parent's place? A girlfriend from my University days, perhaps?

"Come up to Nanna's, and open it?"

Driving along reminded me of the conversation I'd had with my daughter after lunch. I'd been dropping her off to her grandparents for the afternoon.

"So, Sarah, do you know what day it is today?"

"No, Daddy."

"It's Valentine's Day."

"What's Val-in-tynes Day?"

"It's a special day where people send cards and flowers and gifts to those they love. But they don't have to tell them who its from---though some do."

"Why wouldn't they want them to know?" What an excellent question. I paused to analyse the Valentine's Day tradition before offering a reason.

"I guess that way it's kind of a mystery and makes it exciting."

By the time I arrived, I still wasn't certain who the gift was from, but I started to have a few suspicions. Sarah ran up to me after I walked in the front door, and held out a small envelop with a huge bulge in it. There was ample sticky-tape around the top to keep it all in. I took the tiny package and examined it closely. My name and address were on the front in hand-writing that looked familiar. On the back were a series of love-hearts---red, green, blue, orange, pink and black---larger ones at the bottom and some tiny ones at the top. One large pink heart had a bow drawn across its middle. I looked at my mother and she smiled.

"Isn't it good you got a card, Daddy?"

"Yes its great, but let's see who it's from." I carefully opened it and extracted its precious contents.

"A beautiful flower, a sea shell, and a lovely round pebble. What wonderful gifts. Now let's see what the card says. 'Dear Michael James Andrews, I love you and wish you a happy Valentines Day. Love from ?' And there's another pink love-heart with a bow down the bottom."

"It must be a mystery girlfriend Daddy."

"Yes, and someone who obviously loves me very much."

Copyright ©1999 Mark Hansen. All Rights Reserved.

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March, 1999
Issue #35

512 Words