My Valentine's Day, February 14, 1997

As I entered Kroger's for grocery shopping, my eyes fell upon valentines, candies, stuffed animals and other gifts on display all across the front of the store. Tears began swelling up in my eyes. "This will be the first of all future Valentine's days I won't get a valentine and a box of Pangburn's Candy from Jack." That lonesome heartache feeling overwhelmed me. I bought the biggest box of Pangburn's Candy with red silk roses on top…the one Jack would have given me. What if no one sent me a valentine? That would be the saddest thing I could think of happening to me! When I returned home, my mailbox was stuffed with valentines from family and friends. I was overjoyed, delighted, thrice blessed as I rapturously opened each envelope and read most loving messages while choosing, in order, my favorite flavored chocolates!

Jack and I met during the Thanksgiving school holidays in 1937. That first Valentine's day (1938), he gave me a Valentine that cost five cents! I'm sure I still have it in a scrapbook up in my attic somewhere! In l939 and all the years after, his valentine was the biggest 8"x10" he could buy and accompanied by a box of Pangburn's candy. They made fancy decorative boxes. I still have one that is a miniature cedar chest. I believe there were only two years he did not give me candy.

The first was in 1960, when Western Electric transferred him to Ketchikan, Alaska to install an early warning signal line along the coast across from Russia. That year, I received a dozen red roses in a most interesting vase behind strange carvings of wood. I really thought the arrangement was mailed from Alaska! So did everyone else. First time I ever received flowers from someone out of town.

The second time, he was on his death bed in the hospital. He had instructed Wanda to buy a dozen red roses and a valentine card for him to give me on Valentine's day, 1996. The roses were gorgeous long stemmed. Jack struggled to sign his name to the card, but could only write "J." Shortly after midnight, at 12:28 a.m. of February 15, he was in his heavenly home with Jesus. Wanda said, "Isn't that just like our thoughtful Daddy: He didn't want to leave you to be sad on 'Sweetheart' days."

On this Valentine's day, you should feel loved and special -- because you ARE loved and special. We have many happy memories of "'love you!" expressions. Recall them, not only today, but all through the year. You will feel loved!

"Memories are gifts we exchange by heart…and the laughter we share preserves them forever" (Bonnie Jensen).

God's valentine to us is John 3:14-16, the words of Jesus: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Jesus speaks further in John 15:13-14, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you." And verse 17, "These things I command you, that ye love one another."

I am blessed by your being a part of my life. May each new day bring lasting gifts of joy and peace from God's heart to yours. In His unfailing love,

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