Valentine’s Day Mystery

Posted: Saturday, February 12, 2011 at 9:12 am
By: Doug Lund
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Standing at the gas pump the other morning, the only thing that kept me from boiling over with rage at the at the high price of fuel was the fact that a west wind was blowing and I felt colder than the other day when it was 2 below..yet sunny and calm. February is that kind of month. The temperature can have huge swings but  I’ve always felt that by the time Valentine’s Day arrives, we’ve crossed an imaginary line in the snow; a seasonal barrier that means it’s finally okay to go ahead and believe that, despite the very real possibility of a March blizzard or two, the mild breezes of spring will be showing up soon to muscle winter out of the way.

I remember lots of warm Valentine’s Days from my youth. Or maybe it was the kind of warmth you feel when flushed with nervous anticipation and fear of extreme embarrassment over the exchange of Valentine cards with my classmates.  It was an annual ritual we had all through grade school.

valentine box

On Valentine’s eve, Mom and I would sit at the kitchen table with paste and construction paper transforming an old shoe box into a colorful container for all the Valentines I expected to get the next day. Of course in order to receive, one must give so we’d spend considerable time going down the list of fellow students who were to get a Valentine from me then sign each one and put it in an envelope. It was a tough job. You sure didn’t want to give anything too lovey dovey to the guys on the list..or to certain girls who you’d just as soon skip altogether except your mom says that would hurt their feelings.

valentine eggs

It was a fine line between the other girls; those who I thought were okay..those I liked and then there was that special one..the one Elvis sang about in his song All Shook Up.” She was beautiful in her pleated skirt and angora sweater.(“My tongue goes tied when I try to speak; my insides shaken like a leaf on a tree.”) Part of the attraction, I suppose, was knowing she was unattainable. How could she like a chubby big-eared kid  like me? But I had to make my feelings known so, instead of just signing my name on her Valentine, I nervously wrote “Love” Doug at the bottom. It was an incredible display of pent up passion for a shy Norwegian but it had to be done.

valentine popcornWe’d all bring our Valentine boxes to school and place them on a table next to our name. Then during recess or over lunch, everyone would stuff them with Valentines to be opened during the classroom party at day’s end featuring Kool-Aid and heart-shaped sugar cookies with red frosting. With my heart pounding so loud I was sure others could hear, I kept glancing over to the desk of my dream girl hoping I might get a glimpse of her reaction when she opened mine. What would I do if she turned around, looked at me and smiled? But after she’d opened every one, there was nothing; absolutely nothing other than her chatting and laughing with friends.  I’m not sure if I was devastated or relieved but soon it would be spring and next fall she’d be in another classroom. Out of sight out of mind perhaps?

When I got home that evening, mom, of course, wanted to see all of my Valentines even though most of them were the exact same ones as I’d given out because everybody bought their supply at Westaby’s store downtown. Then mom said, “What’s this?” as she pulled a little note from the box that had apparently slipped out of a Valentine. It was in a girl’s handwriting (always neater) and read: “Doug, Please be Mine.”  “Who’s that from?” mom asked. “I don’t know,” I said.  

I never did find out who wrote the note but I’ve chosen to believe it did indeed come from that lovely and equally shy classmate in the pleated skirt and angora sweater.

 I hope there’s a special someone in your life who still makes your heart go piddy pat and will always be yours. Happy Valentine’s Day!


  1. hardass555 says:

    doug…though i bet i have never thought about it once since sixth grade, we used to do the exact same thing at our school….as i recall, most of us boys would make up a box with whatever we could find the night before. most boys did not have mothers that took that much time and interest with each one of us in large families….cute story and i know the feelings you had….usually you are so great at remembering these things even at your advanced age, there was one omission so glaring as to make me recoil in wonder, puzzlement, curiosity, and consternation in this story. and i know you purposely omitted it:..for what reason i can not guess…… come on doug….what was her name?……i know you never forgot that

  2. Bill Keller says:

    Doug, that was a nice story, I think every guy out there has a similar one, as well as every girl. It was great to see you post this, as to make people stop and remember, good for the soul.

  3. grouse says:

    I know who that girl was! But, I’m not tellin’. Well, maybe. It all depends. Everything has a price. But, it would take a healthy sum to drag it out of me. Well, maybe not that much. Make an offer.

  4. Hyronimus Anonymous says:

    First, a happy Valentine’s Day to everyone. But I’d like to get off subject here…briefly…to talk about what appear to be “heart-wrenching” budget decisions being made, or avoided, in Pierre.
    There is talk about raising the sales tax which, in South Dakota power circles seems to be considered a “voluntary tax”, something like gambling income. Oh, I mean gaming.
    What hasn’t come up is the obvious; a small income tax. Yeah, I know. It would be a runaway train, but then so is the sales tax, isn’t it?
    How about this. A small income tax earmarked for education that could only be increased by a vote of the people. It could be a sixty percent majority like school bonds although a simple majority would be more practical.
    Yes, there are states that still get by without an income tax, but all of them that I know of have alternative massive revenue drivers like tourism or oil money. We don’t we have cowboys and poverty and it’s time to grow up and stop being one cheap skate congress person away from being a territory. Sorry, Doug. I just needed a platform. Now back to you.

  5. Dennis Rhodes says:

    Nice story, Doug, brings back memories.
    To Hyronimus Anonymous! What are you doing in here? You don’t belong in this blog. Besides that, you don’t know what you are talking about. As a former Minnesotan that moved his business over here because of a reasonable tax climate, I am here to tell you that the sales tax is the fairest way to impose taxes. People with larger incomes spend more and end up being taxed accordingly. Out of staters passing through help pick up the tax bill without really caring if their cheeseburger cost them 1% more than it did in some other state. Any income tax imposed is going to have deductions allowed and many will pay no tax at all because of these deductions. I know at least a dozen farmers that drive around in brand new $35,000 pickup trucks that bought the trucks because they “had to” in order to not pay any Federal income tax. If you want to raise some income we need to grow up and stop subsidizing dead end technologies like the Corn/Ethanol industry and put that money into education instead.

  6. fred says:

    Your a buzz kill. We don’t want to here about your taxs or politics here.
    Just GO AWAY.

  7. Steve says:

    The thing about taxes is that everyone wants them (got things for our gov. to spend our money on). They just want it arranged so that someone else will pay and not you i.e. Dennis’ alluding to the farmer/rancher that drives to town in their $35, 000 pick up for coffee with their friends—————–twice a day. It happens, I’ve seen it!

  8. Mike C says:

    How did we go from talking about our heart pounding valentine’s to taxes? Lets get back on the topic that Doug’s blog was about……

  9. hardass says:

    hey grouse…answer me this…….was she a hottie?

  10. Per Pål P says:

    Grouse…Would 1-lb. of lutefisk be enough ?
    Per Pål Peterson

  11. FOSH says:

    Doug, you should delete Hyronimus’s comment. If you write about politics, i would expect a political response. Otherwise there is no business for it.

  12. FOSH says:

    I got my first kiss as a 2nd grader next to the swings because i finally built up the courage to tell my crush how i felt about her. Ahh, the memories.

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