Be My Valentine

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Valentine’s Day has always been bittersweet. I think that it started in grade school when your teacher said that everyone had to send a valentine to every classmate. EVERY CLASSMATE – even the classroom bully and the girl who was still sucking her thumb in third grade!

DSCN9739So you had this packet of valentines, and a list of your classmates. Fanning out the cards face up, you placed your favorite card to the right, and in descending order, you worked to your left at which point you had to decide whether the least attractive card went to the classroom bully or the thumb-sucking girl. Choosing was brutal.

It was brutal deciding which cards you’d give to whom, but it was even more brutal opening your own cards. The cards were visible proof of your status in the classroom. In my case, I ranked in the lower quarter.

Given my ranking, you would think that I would have some compassion for Ruby, the student who sucked her thumb in third grade and on through high school! Ruby was a noisy – a slurping sucker. I remember sitting behind her in study hall. I was embarrassed. She was a blight on all females, and I wanted her gone.

And then, some years later, after Ruby had graduated, I learned that she was the unwed mother of two. Listening to the radio and hearing “Ruby Don’t Take Your Love to Town” was a chastising moment. I wish that I could travel back and time, and befriend Ruby.



Not that I’m involved in elementary education, but if I were, I’d prohibit teachers requiring all students to exchange valentines. Valentines don’t build community or respect; rather, they exacerbate the existing social divide.

DSCN9745Valentine’s Day has always been bittersweet. With the perceived notion that February 14th is a special day between two lovers, it can be lonely if one of the lovers is not you. It is good to remember that not everyone is hot, disheveled, and in the throes of passionate love.

Love comes in many forms: for me, first and foremost, loving friends and family. But I love the externals too: a good book, a letter sealed with a kiss, a fat cat purring on my lap. And the list goes on: in my case, fresh snow that will top-up the water table, glittering, ice-clad trees, a blazing fire, and our dog Oogie asleep at my feet.

As for passion, I’m too tired to dance until closing. Although I remember doing so and then going out for breakfast before calling it ‘a night.’ My passion is more quiet all the time. Our youngest grandson, Jackson, fills the bill.

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About timeout2

I have lived 100 lives. I write essays, short stories, poetry, grocery lists and notes to myself. If I am ever lost, look for a paper trail, but be careful not to trip over any books that lie scattered here and there. I am a reader. I am a reader in awe of writers. When I don't live in Westcliffe, Colorado, I live in London where I am a long-time member of Word-for-Word - Crouch End.
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12 Responses to Be My Valentine

  1. LOVED this. Beautiful, just beautiful, Doris. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours.

    • timeout2 says:

      Likewise, Renee. How I wish I could drive north and spend a day with you, but we are balls-to-the-wall adding an airlock to the Westcliffe house and getting the Penrose house market-ready to sell this spring. Who would have guessed that retirement would keep us so busy. Happy Valentine’s Day, Doris

  2. Marty Frick says:

    Thanks for this lovely prelude to Valentine’s Day tomorrow. I’m meeting Annie Pringle for lunch tomorrow, then having my poetry reading group, which is always inspiring, then a little widow’s dinner here. I know, I”m lucky. It was always the only holiday Paul Snyder really loved to honor, so it’s a blue day, bottom line…..

    The photos of you and Mark and Jackson are just wonderful, reminding me how much I appreciated your company. So stay upright and enjoy that beautiful place you live….and of course, Oogie. MF


    • timeout2 says:

      Say ‘Hi’ to Annie for me. How uplifting to have a poetry group. Do you meet weekly or monthly. What day? Would I be welcome to join you. I really don’t know what I’d do without Shavano Poets. Having completed our assignment or not, we meet monthly and it is the highlight of my week. I’m busy poetry-wise – preparing poems and audio for nationals to be held in Kansas City, MO this year. I open for highly-regarded performance poet, Nathan Brown, in April at the Steam Plant. Excited to do that. Staying upright. Have spent time recently in Wheat Ridge, but always tied up with baby sitting. Sooner or later, I’ll visit. xo

  3. Bar Scott says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day, Doris. Big squeezes to both of you. LOVE the hanging hearts. Perfect!! And that Jackson!! Such a cutey pie!


    • timeout2 says:

      Dear Bar, You mentioned proximity… yes. I miss having you right down the street. Skype is great, but the computer interface lacks the physicality of touch. Dana made the hearts. When the house catches fire, I will grab them on my flight out. xo

  4. Marti says:

    Happy Valentine’s day! Love your blogs. The pics of you and Mark with Jackson are enchanting! The most memorable valentine I ever received was in 5th grade (from Roger, who had a severe stutter). He was a brilliant artist. He made all of his valentines in the style of Mad Magazine. Mine showed an undertaker with a pine box. The caption read, “Eventually in oak or pine, you’re bound to be my Valentine.” His family sent him to a special school the next year, and we heard that Roger had killed himself. So heartbreaking! I think of him every Valentine’s day and send love to the Universe for him.

  5. Monica says:

    A lovely take on Valentines Day, especially yhe puctures of that beautiful grandson. Love &Hugs

    • timeout2 says:

      Thank you for reading, Monica. So great to see you and Art the other day. Once the weather is more dependable, we must have you up for dinner. As for Jackson – he’s quite the valentine.

  6. marilynjh says:

    Roses are red
    And violets are blue
    Sugar is sweet
    And so are you!

  7. timeout2 says:

    Wow! That rhyme takes me back, Marilyn. Sweet? I don’t think I want to be sweet. Unless my sweetness leans towards Fr. Dan’s honey and not refined sugar. Thank you for reading. Happy Valentine’s Day.

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