Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Day Late and Postage Due

Valentine's Day is coming soon.   Someone just pointed that out to me today.  It's not one of my favorite "holidays".   Probably because I've never experienced the joy of getting a heart-shaped box of candy or a dozen roses of any color from a boy.   My older sister was the one to whom those deliveries were addressed.  I always watched with the hope that one day the delivery would be for me.  

As a kid I loved decorating a shoe box with pink and red crepe paper each year in the hope that my classmates would fill it full of valentines.  Back then the valentines were usually homemade. Red construction paper, doilies, glue and crayolas were the basic materials used to make them. (There's something really cool about the sound of kid scissors cutting through construction paper.  Very satisfying.)  Those who were really creative used glitter as well.  Of course there were also the candy hearts that some people would glue onto the cards.  Definitely not as tasty after being pried off the cards three months later, though.  Most exciting to find in your box were the heart-shaped cookies with pink frosting that some mothers would make with their children.  You were truly blessed if one of those ended up in your box.  Sadly, there weren't any rules back then about making sure you gave a card to everyone in the class.  Invariably there was some poor child who had noticeably fewer cards than the other children.  (Usually the kid whose box was a plain paper bag.)  While I never had the fewest, my box was never quite as full as others'.  It always made me a little sad.

As I got older, the girls I knew started getting frilly cards from boys in the mail.  However, the only time I ever got a valentine from a real live boy, it arrived a day late and postage due. Seriously!  I was in college at the time and apparently the young lad thought he was depositing the card into the campus mail box, which provides free delivery between campus buildings.  In actuality, the box he deposited the card into was one designated by the United States Postal Service for the collection of letters with stamps on them.  When you don't affix one of said colorful stamps onto the envelope, the dedicated men and women of the USPS go through rain or sleet or dark of night to find you a day later and demand payment for the service they have rendered by bringing the card to you.  Needless to say, I was not impressed by the young man's ardor.  (Or lack thereof.)  Especially as the card itself was extremely tacky, featuring a leering young man and including an equally distasteful sentiment written inside.  Yuck!   What a disappointment!

Years later, I still await the thrill of a well-appointed card, chocolates or flowers from a boy on Valentine's Day.  I'm not holding my breath, though.  If I get a postage-due slip from the post office in my mailbox on February 14, I think I'll just leave it there.


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