j:  I went for a walk today. THIS is why I love California.

Scooby says it best!

jb: A few thoughts about Valentines Day…

  • It takes a long time for a first grader to sign his name 32 times on Valentine’s cards, but at least we got some quality snuggle time out of the deal.
  • These days, the rule is if you bring Valentine cards to school you have to bring one for everyone. That wasn’t the case when I was in school. Back then, in the lawless, Wild West of Valentine’s Days, you only brought Valentine cards for people you liked. I’m pretty sure I always gave Valentine’s cards to the whole class. Actually, I’m sure my mom insisted on it. (Thanks, Mom! You were ahead of your time.) But I also remember always selecting my favorite Valentine for my bestest friend and choosing the Valentine card I liked least for the person I liked least and making sure that there wasn’t anything mushy on the cards that went to the boys-with-cooties. Valentines politics were complicated then.
  • In elementary school, I used to worry – physically worry and lose sleep — that no one would give me a Valentine card at school. I could vividly imagine returning to  my desk, opening the former-shoe-box now valentine-mailbox that I had painstakingly decorated and seeing nothing but a Grand Canyon of echoing emptiness inside. I don’t know why I worried. I had friends – good ones. And every year, I had lots of Valentines. But I worried for years just the same. I think I figured if it could happen to Charlie Brown, who was clearly a nice guy with friends, it could happen to me.

And now a Valentines story…

For years now, a kind elderly man and his sweet elderly, yellow retriever have taken daily walks through my neighborhood. They would always stop and invite my son and I to pet the dog, Lady. Everyone, including Lady, was very happy with this whole arrangement. They were an adorable team and it was always nice to see them. I always thought it was interesting that I knew Lady’s name, but not his. Once, I caught myself thinking “what will happen to Lady when he passes away?” I was worried about her.

They continued this friendly routine for years. And then, a few months ago, I noticed the man out walking by himself. I didn’t think much of it at first, until months went by and I noticed Lady was never with him. I finally realizednthat probably meant that Lady had been the one to leave first. That thought broke my heart.  I continued to say hello to him whenever he walked by and never asked about Lady because I wasn’t brave enough.

But today, he was out walking with a lady, a real one, about his age. They walked arm-in-arm, chatting and happy, as if they’d been doing it forever. I said “hello” and he replied with a friendly “hi!” and continued walking, as always. But she stopped and had a little conversation with me about the winter weather and her daily swim class at the local community center. But all I was thinking was how happy my heart was that he found another lady to walk with.