A Valentine Story

On Crystal’s first Valentine’s Day as a wife . . .

She was twenty years old.

Still a kid in many ways – she was excited to imagine what Sir Beads would present to her for the occasion.

A satin heart with chocolates? A bouquet of flowers? A piece of costume jewelry? Her heart fluttered with anticipation.

Sir Beads was a very thoughtful gentleman – right from the start – but I think he would definitely agree he guessed wrong that first year. He did have the best of intentions. But as most men who are honest will admit, he was feeling a little stressed about finding the right gift.

He decided to go to a large department store in downtown Boston to search. Within a few moments, he spied a colorful display of kitchen gadgets and, somehow, they mesmerized him! They seemed so practical for a young bride. He was sure she would be thrilled with a selection of kitchen helpers! He spent considerable time looking at all of them and choosing three that he liked best.

Fast forward to evening. After dinner, he joyfully, and with a bit of a flourish, offered his assortment of household treasures to her. As she unwrapped them one by one, she became wide-eyed . . . speechless actually!
He sensed she was not delighted. She tried her best not to pout . . . to be appreciative. It was no use. She couldn’t help but exclaim:

“A pot holder, a can opener, and a one-egg frying pan – for Valentine’s Day?”

Tears followed, briefly. (Remember, I said she was still a kid!) Sir Beads was stunned. Within minutes, all was well, however. She dried her tears and tried to explain . . .

“It’s just that a girl dreams of a romantic gift on a romantic holiday . . .”

Forty years later, Crystal would tell you that ever since that day, she has been spoiled beyond belief by Sir Beads on every occasion and also on days that are no occasion.

She and Sir Beads look back on that first Valentine’s Day and can’t help but laugh. Since then, he has realized that women don’t necessarily want practical gifts, and she has learned that, to him, buying a practical gift meant he was trying to make things easier for her.

The most ironic thing of all is that she actually grew to LOVE that little pan. It’s the one she would use to melt butter for popcorn during the years her children were growing up! She now thinks of it as a family heirloom. She truly does.

Happy Valentine’s Day! 🙂



Friday Favorites

abcslateYou’ve probably noticed that store aisles are brimming with school supplies, which can mean only one thing . . . school is about to begin!

So this week’s Friday Favorites features a classic poem that’s perfect for the season. I remember having to memorize parts of it in grade school. Do kids still have to do that today?

If you’re unfamiliar with the poem, don’t be discouraged by the length. The ending is well worth the effort. 🙂

Hope you enjoy! See you Monday for the new questions.


schoolkids In School Days

Still sits the school-house by the road,
A ragged beggar sleeping;
Around it still the sumachs grow,
And blackberry-vines are creeping.

Within, the master’s desk is seen,
Deep-scarred by raps official;
The warping floor, the battered seats,
The jack-knife’s carved initial;

The charcoal frescoes on its wall;
Its door’s worn sill, betraying
The feet that, creeping slow to school,
Went storming out to playing!

Long years ago a winter sun
Shone over it at setting;
Lit up its western window-panes,
And low eaves’ icy fretting.

It touched the tangled golden curls,
And brown eyes full of grieving,
Of one who still her steps delayed
When all the school were leaving.

For near it stood the little boy
Her childish favor singled;
His cap pulled low upon a face
Where pride and shame were mingled.

Pushing with restless feet the snow
To right and left, he lingered;—
As restlessly her tiny hands
The blue-checked apron fingered.

He saw her lift her eyes; he felt
The soft hand’s light caressing,
And heard the tremble of her voice,
As if a fault confessing.

“I’m sorry that I spelt the word:
I hate to go above you,
Because,”—the brown eyes lower fell,—
“Because, you see, I love you!”

Still memory to a gray-haired man
That sweet child-face is showing.
Dear girl! the grasses on her grave
Have forty years been growing!

He lives to learn, in life’s hard school,
How few who pass above him
Lament their triumph and his loss,
Like her, because they love him.

~John Greenleaf Whittier