Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

Back in the old neighborhood on 100 north in Orem, Valentine's Day was big. We would sneak up to doors, drop the Valentine cards on the porch, ring the bell, then ran as fast as you could to a bush where you could watch the happy recipient. Stealth, not romance was key. Even though we signed the cards, getting caught was almost like you didn't send the card at all.
Having best friends to give heart-shaped chocolates, cookies, and hard colored heart candies with messages, was what it was all about. My brothers had an entirely different plan. I heard of them putting a beautiful Valentine on a string and pulling it away when the person reached for it. I heard of them putting a dead mouse in an envelope and worse.

At school Valentine's Day was a pretty big deal. In some classes we decorated shoeboxes to hold all our cards. Back then, it was unusual for school Valentines to have candy in them, but if you were lucky you got a fat envelope with a few pieces of candy. When I gave the message hearts at school, I had to sort through them carefully to make sure I didn't give any boys candies with, "Love you" on them or "Love me." Accidentally sending someone a "kiss me" conversation heart would embarrass you to the point that you wouldn't want to go back to school--ever. So it took a long time to decide who got what in their envelope. Cooties were always a big deal, in that boys always carried them. In the fifth grade, I came up with an ingenious way to make a few dollars. I sold cootie insurance. I made the insurance on onion skin paper, wrote with India Ink and a quill pen. Then for an authentic look I burned the edges of the documents. The owner of my insurance could not get cooties from the opposite gender--guaranteed.  And all this for only 25 cents. It's a good thing no one ever challenged me on that guarantee.

I wonder when the last time someone put a heart shaped valentine on my front door, rang the bell and ran. I wonder if anyone ever will again. Does anyone still do this fun tradition? What are some other traditions for Valentine's Day? Let me know.