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Happy Valentine's Day To You All

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

All younger people look eagerly for the post-man on St. Valentine's day. Father or mother will not have to go to the mailbox. When you return with your armful of papers and letters, how the other young members of the family fall upon you for their share.

"Here, Jane," you call, as you hold an envelope over the heads of the others, "John sent you a valentine."

"Let's see it, let's see it," they all demand.

"I bet it's from that new beau of hers' Jim puts in. "John wouldn't send such a soft one," he adds, as Jane flushes.

"Here, Jim, quit your teasing," and you silence him with, "Your girl has sent you one."

"Yes, Maud," to the girl peering over your shoulder, "you've got one, too. And father, here is one for you."

They all rush to see what it is, something funny of course, without too sharp an edge; for everyone likes father. Then from an accusing group *Where is yours? You have hidden it you know you have."

Your telltale face sets them upon you, but you escape to your room, and eagerly tear off the cover to see the most beautiful one of all. "Is it really from Will?" and you study it carefully. "Of course it is," you assure yourself. "No one else thinks that much of me." You did not know before that he did. There is just enough certainty about it now to make you happy enough mystery as to where the valentine came from to lend excitement.

Mother glances at you narrowly as you rejoin the family group. She likes to see you happy, but your eyes are evidently a trifle too bright; for she looks wistfully out of the window.

Maud must really be in doubt as to where hers came from; for she holds it up for everyone's inspection. "Is yours anything like this?"

"No." At last you add "Mine's prettier."

"Oh," she gasps. "I think this U pretty."

Mother looks back from the window, with a musing smile. "Do you want to see the prettiest valentine there ever was?"

Wondering, you all chime, "yes, yes."

After a time which is filled with merry chatter about the mysterious missives, mother returns with a small box. Carefully, she lifts the lid and holds up a pink silk and daring celluloid affair to father's astonished gaze. Before the laughing eyes of his big children, he feels so foolish, that he looks almost young again.

"What an old-fashioned thing," you exclaim, as you glance from it to Maud's, and think of your beautiful one.

"It's the prettiest valentine, girls, that there ever was," repeats Mother with a loving look at father.

With a sudden thought, you glance at Grandma, smiling to herself by the fire. "Is that so, Grandma, or do you have ope just as pcetty hidden away somewhere?"

"Yes, I was thinkin' I'd like to put mine along side yours," she challenged. "If you will all put yours in a vow, I'll get mine. May be a mite yeller perhaps but they're beauties."

At last, she returns. Grandma must have been quite a belle; for she proudly lays out six. "They're all purty," she affirms, "hut this one," putting her hand out, "is the purtiest of all. It was the last real valentine I ever got," and she smiled down at it.

The jest, that had half sprung to your lips, dies as you see the tender look in her face. You pick up the little square of paper lace, it is not much more and read inside, a verse loving, and earnest. "It's very dainty," your answer to Grandma's questioning eyes. Then you compare it to the elaborate affair of mother's, all tinsel, arid silk, and crazy curls of celluloid, and look at her sober face; and then to your valentine, so shamelessly beautiful.

Suddenly, you know, and feel that everyone in the room knows, what makes a valentine pretty. You wish that Will had not sent you such a fine one, or at least that you had not said that yours was the prettiest.

"Styles have changed a lot in valentines haven't they?" mother remarks.

"Yes," says Grandma. "But the sentiment's just the same."

"How about the comics, I got last year?" drawls Jim.

"We didn't have them. They're not valentines, anyway" Grandma retorts.

At that the group broke up laughing.

Do you not think that St. Valentine must have been a queer kind of a saint, to have gotten his name so entangled in love missives? One almost doubts such a saint. And when one sees some of the ridiculous jokes that are passed under his name, one half wonders if he was not as worldly as the worst of us.

Poor St. Valentine! Let us not accuse him falsely. He was really a humble, God,fearing priest of the narlvChurch at Rome. He was not given to sending anonymous love notes to the pretty girls around the monastery or cracking jokes in such a sneaking way with the men of the neighborhood. He wan a real Saint; and because he was good and brave, let the Church tack his name onto the old pagan celebration of Pan and Juno. Perhaps, he was then where he could not help himself, as to worldly affairs. Anyway this merry making is so old that dates are missing, but in records of 1440 St. Valentine Day was mentioned. So you see, St Valentine was "an old timer."

The real ceremony of the day for Pan and Juno, away back in the misty past, was the drawing of a kind of lottery. Names of people were put in and drawn by lot. Of course, there was much fun made out of it among the young people, but married persons also took part. Later it became the custom to fill baskets with jokes such as we concoct on April Fool's Day and hang the baskets on the door-knob, and run away. In some places, St. Valentine Day is still kept as a day of giving.

Too many men had found their wives, too many girls their husbands, through this simple fun, to give it up, even if they did renounce their religion. So the day was renamed for St. Valentine, Then those, whose names were drawn in the lottery, were called Valentines, and gave parties for the one who had drawn them. Since St. Valentine gave only his name to this day, and was not actually implicated in this kind of love-making, we will forgive him, will'we not?


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