Since I've spent so much time lately talking about Carol - off the blog mostly - I thought you all might like to see a picture of her in happier days. I'm thinking this is either her high school or college photo. She had long, brown hair that she wore in a ponytail. Her usual style of dress was bright and bold! Lots of psychedelic flowers and prints from the 70's.
Yesterday was Valentine's Day and I spent some time reflecting on last year. On Friday, I drove past the Loveland Post office and saw all the heart shaped signs posted out front. They do Valentine's Day big in the city of Love - selling sidewalk hearts with special greetings. I read that "Grandma loves Brittany and Chad," "Tom loves Shelia," and "Happy Valentine's Day Sugar from Ben!"
Because of the valentiney name, Loveland gets cards and letters from all over the world to postmark and send off. They have special "Valentine Ladies" who sit at tables in the lobby to postmark with a special Valentine only stamp.
I love Valentine's Day - in fact, I think it's my favorite holiday. Ever since I was a little girl, I've loved making valentines from those heart shaped doilies and glitter. Some years I got creative with other material and cross stitched or sewed a valentine greeting. About ten years ago, I bought some pink and red crepe paper fabric and made a batch of Valentine's for my family and some select friends. To my surprise, my friend, Kitty, made a scrapbook for me one year and sent the Valentine back with a line, "Remember this?" I loved it - a Valentine with a past.
Last year, I made some bookmarks for different friends and some of my nieces and nephews. For the first time, I stood in line at the Loveland post office and got the special postmark. It's free but they are so busy as the holiday nears you have to wait in sometimes long lines. I didn't mind. Even though I seldom get many Valentine's in return, I love sending them and would do it even if I never got another one myself.
So yesterday, I was reflecting that because of the recent stressful events in the family, I hadn't had time to do anything for Valentine's Day. Not even buy some of the little kid meal tickets from one of the local restaurants to give to my nieces and nephews. For the first time in a long time, I was reduced to ecard Valentines. It sure felt like a sad state of affairs - although as the recepient of some wonderful ecards myself - I enjoyed every sentiment!! So maybe the people who got mine didn't mind not having a homemade one this year.
As I was thinking about friends and friendship, counting up the many wonderful people in my life, I feel so blessed to have so many friends and so many close ones at that! Some of my friends I've had for a long, long time, others are more recent friends. During the past year, many of my friendships have become deeper and stronger - old and new friends have grown closer. Then sadly, some friendships have become distant and we aren't as close as we once were. I always dislike when that happens. Maybe I end up cherishing my friendships too much - maybe the fault lies in me for caring so much. But, I guess I should figure that as relationships grow and bloom, there are some that fade away for reasons unknown to me. Makes me sad to think about it --
Not long ago, I found a cute Valentine in my keepsake box. It had a sweet grey kitten poking at a heart and it had a kid type verse. Inside, some little girl had written -- You are my bestest friend, Judy. The only trouble was--I couldn't remember having a friend named, Judy! Yet, the card has my name on it and my teacher - so we were in the same class. And I liked her well enough to keep the card all these years since third grade. Makes me wonder - didn't she move, go to a different fourth grade, did we chose other friends, dislike one another on sight the next year or what??
Guess it proves a point - that friendship is a rare and precious gift. Maybe the true test of a lasting friendship is whether or not you remember the name on the Valentine card twenty years down the road!
Happy Valentine's Day - belated!