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Valentine's Day Memories

February 10, 2021

By Joan Milburn

Do you remember when you were in grade school and would get excited about your class Valentine’s party? I do. The day or two before, we would decorate our box to keep our valentines. We had a card for everyone in our class. The afternoon of the party we would march around the room putting a valentine in each person’s box. Then we had treats; usually a heart-shaped cookie and a Dixie cup of vanilla ice cream that we ate with a small, flat, wooden spoon. Sometimes we had Kool-Aid or red fruit juice. Then, I would skip home and display all of my valentines on the dining room table. That evening for supper, my mother always made pancakes. She would put red food coloring in the batter and make the pancakes into heart shapes. What a wonderful day!

Fast forward to being a freshman in high school. There was going to be a Valentine’s Day Dance. One day after church my mother was visiting with a gentleman who was raising his younger brother (my age) after the death of their parents. He said that Bruce wanted to go to the dance but was too shy to ask anyone. My mother replied, “No problem, Joan would be happy to go to the dance with him.” But mother, he’s the only boy in the whole school who wears cowboy boots! Needless to say, I went! He came to get me and he looked pretty good—cowboy boots, corduroy pants, a white long-sleeve shirt and a pullover sweater. The sweater had been packed away in mothballs so the minute we stepped into that hot gym, the smell was apparent to everyone! I finally worked up enough courage to suggest he might be more comfortable if he took off his sweater. He replied, “I can’t, George only ironed the collar and cuffs.” I just smiled and will never forget that Valentine’s dance.

Well, I grew up and met Don. What a wonderful world! The first Valentine’s Day after we were married, Don gave me a single red rose and a heart-shaped box of chocolates and we had pink pancakes for supper, of course. He didn’t mind because he didn’t have to take me out to eat. The following year he gave me two red roses and a heart-shaped box of chocolates — more pink pancakes. When we reached two dozen roses (and the price had gone from $10  to $49 a dozen), I suggested we continue with the chocolates and pancakes and forget about the roses. He said he would think about it.

For the next twenty years, Bates Flowers delivered a bouquet of four red roses and a pink one representing our four grandsons and one granddaughter. The box of chocolates and pink pancakes continued.

This Valentine’s Day, our four great-grandchildren will be eating pink pancakes. They can choose from a giant heart pancake or a medium one surrounded by several little heart pancakes.

We had been married 66 years when Don passed away. That’s dozens and dozens of roses and 66 heart-shaped boxes of chocolates.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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