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Ringgold County's Oral Legend & Memories Project

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, February 10, 2005

To my 'better looking' Valle-ntine

With Valentine's Day coming Monday, it seemed to be a good time to reminisce about Valentine's Days in the past.

I really don't remember my grade school ones particularly. I know we had boxes to receive Valentines in and I dutifully fixed a card for the other students in the class. I remember the candy hearts with the short statements and trying to come up with sentences that made sense from groups of these candies.

I learned what not to do in sixth grade around Valentine's Day time. Our neighbor's house had burned down and kids were bringing gifts to Doris to illustrate their empathy. One fellow brought Doris a box of Valentine's candy as a gift. The problem was he couldn't wait for Doris to open it and had opened it himself, selecting his favorites from the box before he passed it on as a gift. I remember Doris thinking that this was less than the perfect gift.

I was a social illiterate in junior high school - especially when it came to anything romantic. I somehow intimated that I would meet a girl at a school carnival. I remember going to the event but I was so shy that I didn't even look at her at the event.

I didn't get much more bold in high school, but my romantic quotient went up when I got to Graceland College -- a little.

My freshman year I gathered quite a collection of toast glasses from attending formal house functions with a variety of campus women.

I still was no Cassanova, that's for sure, even after I met Valle when she asked me out to a barn party her house was throwing. I ended up going with a mouthful of stitches because of a flag football accident that afternoon, not a very romantic sight.

The pops concert was coming up, one of the more romantic evenings on the schedule at the college. I got around to calling Valle and asking if she would like to go with me.

She said she was busy Friday night but could go with me on Saturday night. I ended up volunteering as a waiter for the Friday night event, and who should I be serving but Valle and her Friday night date.

Valle actually sewed a dress to wear for Saturday night. The effort to come up with a new dress for the occasion impressed me. It wasn't too long until we were steadily dating. We remained dating for four years before we were married.

Along the way I made a number of cards for Valle for special occasions including Valentine's Day. We still have a file that has some of the creations.

My homemade cards this year would allude to the fact that Valle is so much better looking than I am -- in more ways than one.

She can find things that I have searched for for house and not been able to find. I lost a set of keys a few months ago and couldn't find them anywhere.

I finally gathered a complete new set of keys to vehicles, office, church and home doors, post office boxes and the like.

It was Valle who was cleaning up in the garage and noticed something metallic in the bottom of a plastic trash bag she was about to throw away.

Sure enough, there was the missing set of keys. How they made it into a trash bag in the garage, I'll never know. Still I was thankful for Valle's finding them.

Valle was able to go one step further this past week and find an item almost before it was lost.

Valle and I had taken my mother to Independence, MO, early Saturday morning for a church meeting and some family gatherings and were headed back home Saturday night.

We had stopped at Sonic in Kearney, MO, a stop we often make to pick up something to help keep us awake after long days.

My treat of choice is Sonic's Lemon Berry Slush, a concoction with real strawberries and lemon slices mixed together with ice slush.

The drink had done its work for awhile but by the time we reached the rest stop south of Bethany, MO, I was beginning to show signs of being sleepy.

We pulled into the rest area and I hopped out of the car and headed for the back seat. Valley climbed into the driver's seat from inside the car and didn't need to step outside.

My seatbelt caught in the door so I had to open the door again to remove it. At that very moment, Valle was climbing over the seat and noticed something in the flash of light from the opening door.

I hadn't put my billfold away after getting out the money to pay at Sonic. It had fallen out on the ground when I got out and I hadn't noticed it at all.

I felt doubly blessed - for Valle's good eyes and for the blessing that everything came together at just the right time to avert a disaster. For Valle to be a just the right angle at the right time and for the door to have to be opened again so light could fall on the billfold to make it visible to Valle -- it seems like more than just conincidence to me.

I never would have figured out where my billfold had gone if Valle hadn't seen it. I hate to think of all the work getting credit cards, driver's licenses and the like restored.

That's just one more reason why I'm proud that I have a special "Valle-ntine" all year round, not just on one day in February.

To contribute to "Tales from the Front Porch: Ringgold County's Oral Legend & Memories Project"
contact Sharon R. Becker at
Please include the word "Ringgold - Front Porch" in the subject line. Thank you.

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