Special Valentines

I found a treasure today.  I have had it since I was eight years old.  Wow.  I started glancing over the pages.  Oh, my goodness so much love.  

The year was 1959.  It was Saturday.  I was eight years old.  I kissed Daddy on his cheek and settled on the floor to unwrap my Valentine’s day present and card.

“A little red book shaped like a heart?  I read the front of the book, “My First Diary”.  I thumbed through the pages.  All the pages are blank.  What is this?”

“It is a diary.  Every little girl needs a diary.  You can write down all your secrets and talk to it.  Take this to Grandmother and she will tell you how to use it.  I love you, you are my little Valentine.”

I looked up into his big brown eyes.  I rubbed the top of his head, I loved the feel of his burr haircut.  I realize he had given me my valentine first before Mommy even got hers.  Things had sure changed since the adoption just three years ago.  He made me feel safe and loved.  Two things that my sister and I knew nothing about until we were adopted.

I approached my grandmother with caution.  She was talking about Hoover Dam under her breath as she set about scrubbing her umbrella.  Grandmother said damn was a curse word unless you said, Hoover Dam.  Hoover Dam is a real place.  Anyway, I knew whenever she started talking about Hoover Dam,  she was angry about something so I decided to wait before asking about how to use the diary.

Anytime there was a Saturday the fourteenth, it followed a Friday the thirteenth.  My grandmother had nicknamed Friday the thirteenth as National Pigeon Poop Day.  It was, as she had explained it to me, the day when the law of Karma got caught up.

At the age of five, six, seven, and eight I had no idea what the law of Karma really was.  I did know it was the day that all the pigeons in the world flew all the way up just past cloud nine. Angels handed gave each pigeon a poop listing in their beak as they flew by the opening.  It seems if someone has been unkind, cursed, or was rude this law of Karma catches up with them by sending the pigeons out to poop on their heads.  Most mortals are unaware of this law and do not realize they earned the poop on their heads.

Yesterday, was such a day.  Grandmother and I were walking to the corner store one block away.  Grandmother carried her umbrella just in case she had ended up on anyone’s poop list.  When the third pigeon had pooped on her umbrella yesterday I knew there was going to be some discussion about Hoover Dam today.  The fact that it was Valentine’s day made no difference.

Daddy saw me stop before entering the kitchen.  There was grandmother washing her umbrella and Hoover Daming all over the place.  He gave me a wink and then scooted past me into the room.  He put on his biggest grin and said, “Happy Valentine’s” as he put his arms around Grandmother.  She turned with her umbrella high in the air like she was going to strike him with it.

She instantly stopped, dropped her dirty old umbrella, and cupped her face with two soapy hands.  “Oh, Son.  What have you got there?”  It was a brand new, bright red, umbrella with fringe and fancy bows all the way around it.  He gave her a peck on the cheek.

“Who loves you, Mama?”

“I love you so much, Son.  This is exactly what I needed.  I know I got pooped on because I got carried away with Hoover Dam last week when that door to door salesman would not leave me alone.  I told myself, after the fact that I was going to pay for that.  Looks like I did.”

“Mama, do you realize you had your umbrella so the only thing that got pooped on was your old umbrella.  Do not go to the trouble to clean it, throw it away.  There is no reason to Hoover Dam anything.”

I could not decide if the magic that happened was because Valentine’s had come on a Saturday, the day after Friday the thirteenth.  This gave me an idea about my diary.

I open it and read, “Dear Diary, it is February fourteenth, 1959 and you and I just met.  Valentine’s day is special and has a lot to do with love.  My Daddy’s love for me.  His love for my grandmother.  Our love for him.  It is different than family love because it is personal.  We each get a valentine all to ourselves.”

I turned the page.  “Dear Diary, It is Saturday, February fourteenth, 1970.  I am nineteen.  Bruce and I have been married for just a few months.  I have never known such happiness.  We are so much in love I can not imagine ever being unhappy again.  I got pooped on yesterday.  I laughed.  I told Bruce about National Pigeon Poop Day.  We both laughed.  We had decided to not go to church and stay home the following Sunday.  That was yesterday.  This morning, at the age of eighteen Bruce, had a heart attack.  I can only see him once an hour for fifteen minutes.  I guess it is good we do not have long.  We seem to spend the entire fifteen minutes kissing each other.  He told me to check the pocket of his jacket.  It is my valentine’s card and the charm of a small gold key.  The card says it is the key to his heart.”

I need to make a special note here.  Bruce did recover from his first heart attack.  However, in 1972, on April twenty-first, my birthday… he passed away in my arms.  I had turned twenty-one that day.  I also became a widow.  We had also never again missed church or went out on Friday the thirteenth without an umbrella.

I turned the page.  Dear Diary, I am twenty-five, it is 1976.  A lot has happened since we last chatted. This is a leap year.  I got married again.  His name is Vance.  He is a very talented man.  I teach children with special needs now and he is a public accountant.  He also plays the organ beautifully.  He plays by ear.  It amazes me to watch him listen to a melody on the radio and then sit down and play it.  He does not read music.  Yesterday, he made fun of me for wearing an umbrella when it was not raining.  I told him about National Pigeon Poop Day.  We were having Champagne and fried chicken.  He poured the wine as he continued to make fun of my grandmother’s superstitions.   He raised his glass to mine and said, “This is love, YUKE!!”  A pigeon pooped right in his glass.  I laughed out loud.  He put on his baseball cap and got under the umbrella with me.  Valentine’s love is magical because it can help you express your love through laughter and the pure joy of being with the one you love.

I turned the page.  Dear Diary, I am thirty, it is 1981.  Vance passed away of Leukemia last month.  The flowers and valentine he had ordered for me arrived this morning along with a tape of him playing the organ.  I could feel his strength and determination supporting me and giving me comfort.   I even got a giggle as I played the tape.  I still had the baseball cap he always wore.  I put it on yesterday to go to the store.  Sure enough, a pigeon poop right on my head.  I had forgotten my umbrella.  I know for certain Valentine love is magic.  Pigeon Poop Day is the pits.

I turned the page.  Dear Diary, I am thirty-six years old, it is 1987.  I am getting married again.  Ray, a much older, country preacher has asked me to marry him.  He is what grandmother would call a long drink of water.  He stands six foot six and weighs at least two hundred and fifty pounds.  He has a voice that would melt butter.  It is baritone and soft.  When he preaches, he does not need a microphone.

We will be living out at the lake.  He has snow-white hair.  I told him last Thursday to not have the group meeting today.  I had to tell him about National Pigeon Poop Day.  A whole group of us were going out to the lake house.  He assured me we did not have pigeons out at the lake.  I felt a little uneasy but decided I was being silly.  We got everything unpacked.  Ray was standing in front of the whole group.  I have no idea what he was going to so but it came out, “Oh, crap.”  Two doves flew over him and pooped right on his head.

I sat there under my umbrella laughing and could not seem to stop.  Today he asked me to marry him.  He said he knew he had to marry a woman who had pigeon poop cleaner in her purse on Friday the thirteen. Valentine’s love is beautiful.  There is nothing more beautiful than a heart that is changing.  Valentine’s love allows the heart to grow and make room for more love.

I turned the page.  Dear Diary, I am forty-seven years old, it is Saturday, Valentine’s day 1998.  Ray passed away in his sleep this morning.  Yesterday was special.  We spent the entire day together, under umbrellas, just enjoying each other’s company.  It was a quiet time, it was an early Valentine.  We went to the park down by the lake and necked in the car.  We watched the moon come up over the water.  Everything was going great until the police officer shined a light into our car.  We showed him our wedding rings.  As Ray was getting out his driver’s license, a dove flew over and pooped on the officer.  It was truly an unusual day.  When we went to sleep last night neither one of us knew it would be our last kiss.  Valentine’s love brings with it an assurance that you are loved.

I turned the page.  Dear Diary, I am fifty-three years old, it is Saturday, February fourteenth, 2004.  I am a widow again.  I lost my beloved saxophone player in 2000.  Yesterday was interesting.  I thought I was going to have a quiet day.  I decided to go to the card shop and buy as many valentines as I could.  I then went to the senior center with a potbellied pig named Hamlet, a white shepherd named snowball, and a white cat named cupid.  My hair is turning white from the blonde it has always been.  We all had umbrellas and were all leashed together.  Hamlet had on white boots that had rubber soles.  It allowed him to walk on the tile floor without slipping.  I had a sash I made that said, “The Blonde Gang”, and we made our entrance.  I have no idea how this idea came to me but I knew I was not going to spend Valentine’s Day in the blues.

We entered the senior center.  We were instantly stopped by a not so friendly red-head who was accompanied by a woman that had jet black hair piled upon her head like a beehive.  She had wicked-looking glasses that seem to have sculptured wings coming off the frame.  “You cannot bring those animals in here.”  She said this as she put her hand up with her palm facing me.  I answered her in a very meek (I surprised myself) voice.

“I have an appointment with Mr. Davis.”  About that time I spotted Mr. Davis coming to me.  He was a doctor here at the center and he had watched Hamlet get married several times when I had my act.  He went right past the “now very pissed” redhead and black-haired b-witch.

“Ladies, let our entertainment on through to my office.  You will be amazed at how talented this sweet little lady is.  I do mean lady too.  Come, dear.”  He took me by the elbow, I nodded to the two ladies and grinned deep inside.  I was not thinking kind thoughts.  We did our show.  Even the grumpy girls enjoyed it.  I chastised myself for thinking unkind thoughts.

We were leaving.  We had the car doors open.  I had put the animals into the van.  I open the drivers’ side door and plop.  A pigeon pooped on my umbrella.  I laughed all the way home.  Boy, that stuff is hard to cleanout.  This morning Snowball woke me up by hitting me in the head with something in his mouth.  It was you.  I got my giggle and I got to experience the magic of Valentine’s love again.  It lasts.  It is a love that never fails you.

I turned the page.  Dear Diary.  I am fifty-eight.  It is 2009.  I retired just last year.  I went on disability and decided to take early retirement.  I got a proposal today.  Yes, a very sweet proposal.  A wonderful couple who live across the street wanted to spend the entire day together alone.  They asked me to baby-sit their seven-year-old little boy.  He is adorable.  He had on a cowboy hat, cowboy boots, and swede vest with leather fringe, and a smile with only one tooth missing in front.

I made him chocolate chip pancakes.  He ate every one.  He then asked me to sit down on the sofa with me.  I sat beside him.  He stood up on the sofa, boots and all, cupped my face in his tiny little hands, and said, “Will you mmmarry me?  (He was having problems with his ‘m’s and ‘L’s’).  I wuv you.”  I hugged my new suitor and we giggled.  Nothing happened yesterday… almost nothing.  I was out on the back patio.  I had already been on my walk and put everything down on the deck chair while I got the key out.  Suddenly, a dove pooped on the umbrella sitting in the chair.  I had to laugh… I mean… really?

I turned to the last entry. Dear Diary, I am sixty-four and it is 2015.  I am going to start with yesterday first.  I volunteered to help a friend out at a small neighborhood bar for the day.  She had also retired but when her husband passed, she took over his little club.  Anyway, she knew we would be busy on a Friday because it was payday out at the plant.

Things were moving along just fine.  One man, however, decided I was new, old, and stupid.  I am not sure how he got that idea.  I decided to ‘really’ him.  He was going on and on about all his accomplishments.  With each one he seemed to pause to see if I was actually believing all his stuff.  All I said was, “Really?”  Then he would continue.  The man talked for nearly three hours.  I was working and waiting on people, but he just kept talking.  Finally, I decided to put an end to it.  I said dear sir then I methodically went through his previous testimony and pointed out the spots that could not be true if one of the other things were true.  He looked surprised.  I said now I am going to tell you something that will really surprise you…  I have outlived four husbands.  I turned to get a towel and looked back up and he had disappeared.  I had to laugh.  My friend and I both laughed about that one.  I think my pigeon is getting ready to retire or someone is training a new one.  He totally missed my umbrella and pooped right in front of me on the sidewalk.  I stepped right in it.  That was a Hoover Dam moment for sure.

This morning I was quietly having my coffee out on the deck.  It dawned on me it was Saturday, Valentine’s day. I was alone.  I had successfully chased away a would-be suitor.  I thought about the four wonderful love affairs I have had.  Each with a husband who loved me dearly.  I would say Valentine’s love is special because it endures.  It is not brass and all puffed up.  I felt a wet nose come up under my hand.  It was T-Bone, my dog…  He has something in his mouth.  I opened it.  It is a valentine.  It starts, “We love you with all our hearts.”  It showed four boys all giving a heart to a woman.  I knew whoever T-Bone stole this from, it was meant for me.

Valentine’s love is magic and it is real.  Everything else is pigeon poop. 

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    1. You have no idea how wonderful your words are to me. I am very new to writing, well not totally new, I did complete my school. I am new to this type of writing. I find it enjoyable and a way to share a giggle or piece of wisdom. You encourage me to continue in my efforts. Thank you so much for sharing your response with me.


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