Column:Friends show one is never too old to enjoy day of love

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 19, 2004

Love Cruikshank, Love notes

One of the great joys of old age is to suddenly realize that even when you’re a bit over the hill there are still memory-making days.

Valentine’s Day was always a special day for me when I was growing up and even in my maturity, but at this stage of my life, I think of the day as a happy memory, or rather happy memories, rather than something to be again experienced.

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Then last Thursday, my dear friend, Eloise Adams, took me out for dinner and gave me one of her beautiful hand crafted valentines. I was ever so pleased and shall probably keep it sitting on the music rack of my piano for the rest of the month.

Friday morning I had a telephone call from Dr. Bill Buege. He wanted to know if I would be at home as “We are bringing you a valentine treat.” I assumed he was talking about himself and Jane, and while I was in a mess and my house was in a mess, I could think of no one more welcome.

In a short time there was a knock at my door and who should walk in but the Singing Valentines sextet from the Harmony Junction Chorus. You probably read about them in a recent edition of The Tribune.

The ultimate Valentine gift, the group has for the last four years been appearing around town and beautifully singing to recipients of the gift.

At my house were Garry Gardinier, Greg Smith (whose talented wife, Carolyn, is part of the writing group that meets at my house on Tuesdays), Doug Riskedahl, Orin Calhoun, Dr. Bill Buege and Randy Tuchtenhagen.

I doubt if any of them realized what a day brighter it was for me. I shall remember it with gratitude for a long time.

Then on Saturday a few friends dropped over for a cup of tea. Among them were Mary Ann Dixen and her daughter, Pat, who was visiting from California. Pat brought me a bouqet of pastelcolored cut tulips, still brightening my living room.

Moreover I had a darling valentine in the mail from a beloved cousin in California that also brightened my day. A number of telephone calls added a final touch. It’s wonderful to know that you’re never too old to enjoy a holiday.

I remember when I was in second-grade we had double seats. So two people sat at one desk. Just in front of me sat the smartest girl in the room and the prettiest girl in the room. On Valentine’s Day, after we had he Valentine box, they counted their valentines to see who had the most. They were very competitive.

Not because I was particularly popular, but because I never risked hurting anyone’s feelings by withholding a valentine, I had more valentines than the two girls in front of me put together. I never told them, because I was afraid that if I did the smartest girl in the class would think I was pretending to be as smart as she was and the prettiest girl in class would think I had pretensions of being pretty.

Nonetheless the experience gave me a kind of an inward glow that never faded and I have much the same kind of a glow this week. My thanks to all of you who gave it to me.

I remember, too, when I was in the seventh-grade, I came down with something the week before Valentine’s Day and wasn’t able to participate. It was extremely depressing. I wasn’t in the habit of coming down with something and couldn’t see why I did so at such a special time.

Then I came back to school, healthy but morose, reached in my desk for my books and found it full of valentines. The teacher’s doing, no doubt, but it, too, lingers in my mind as something special.

And next Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, a promise of Easter to come, and with Easter comes spring. Isn’t life wonderful!

(Love Cruikshank is an Albert Lea resident. Her column runs Thursday.)