Archive for : February, 2015

It’s Short Story Thursday! Enjoy! Jordan’s Choice

Part One…

Jordan Riesling had just finished work but wasn’t tired. Her shifts had been whittled down to four day weeks, five hours per day, and that’s not enough work to tire out a 26 year old. That left her with only one thing to do at 3:30 in the afternoon. The Get-Go was crowded with workers from the Perry Candle Company which employed over three-fourths of the population of Pittney Pennsylvania, including Jordan; just not Jordan’s close friends. All Jordan could think to do was to pick out a cheap beer and go home to watch TV. She grabbed a six of Pabst and took a place in line. Old man Ritter was buying his daily lotto ticket at the counter. He was well past 75 years old and Jordan knew he had spent most of his life hoping to win. She wondered why he didn’t find another way to spend his hard earned money. Shirley Finney was gathering a cart full of disposable diapers and wet naps for her three babies. Her husband had been a stay-at-home dad since the iron mill closed five years ago. Now it was up to Shirley to support them on her small income.

Rob Thompson, past class president from their senior year at Fillmore High, was browsing the men’s magazines in the corner of the store. Right after, he would surely head to Hudson’s Bar across the city limits to a “wet” town, as he had every day since he was voted Most Likely to Succeed. He bragged about the different girls he had nightly, but the truth was he never brought anyone home.

Jordan’s attention was drawn to a couple of strangers in the snack isle who stood out like two burning candles in a dim room. The taller of the two, wearing aviator sunglasses low on his nose, was reading aloud from a package of chips.

“Kettle chips have nine grams of fat and 180 milligrams of sodium compared to the Lay’s which have ten grams of fat and 170 milligrams of sodium.” His voice low, but each word enunciated with clear diction.

The other man wearing, a tattered Giants ball cap spoke up. “You make too much of that crap. Neither one of them are good for you. Just grab a bag and let’s get going.”

Aviator’s friend didn’t appear as polished. His baggie jeans sat low on his hips revealing the band on his Geoffrey Beene underwear. A tight washed out tee hugged his ripped muscular arms and chest. His square jaw line carried a couple days black growth which gave him a scruffy, but somewhat appealing look.

Jordan watched as they made their way to the checkout line. Aviator spoke directly to Ballcap. “Did you know that the potato chip originated in Saratoga Springs, New York in 1853 by restaurant owner George Crum? Mr. Crum had a chronic dissatisfied customer that complained about the restaurant French fries being too thick. Mr. Crum sliced his potatoes real thin and deep fried them to a crisp chip just to piss off his customer. Mr. Grumpy customer liked the chips and the word spread through town until everyone was asking for them”

“Fascinating story,” Ballcap remarked sarcastically.

“Okay, I’ll change the subject. Did you catch the game last night?”

Ballcap didn’t answer. He was eyeballing a woman bent over looking at the magazines on the bottom row at the counter. The smile on his face gave away his thoughts.

Aviator punched Ballcap on the shoulder. “Hey. I asked if you saw the game.”

“Man, you are persistent.”

“Just awaiting an answer.”

“I didn’t answer on purpose. If I tell you I didn’t see it, you’re gonna give me a blow-by-blow and I don’t really care. If I tell you I did, you’re going to want to go over the highlights and I really just don’t give a crap.”

“You wear their hat.”

“What?”

“Your Giants’ hat.”

“Just a hat.”

“Next,” the clerk called out. The voice startled Jordan, but she quickly moved forward to pay for the beer.

She accidentally brushed against Ballcap, trying to squeeze past the line on her way to the exit. Once in her car, she decided to wait for the guys to come out of the store. Their black BMV sat at the pumps. Aviator flipped the keys to Ballcap and they took a right off the lot. Jordan’s house was to the left, but she turned right and followed. Two miles short of city limits they pulled into the state park. Jordan hesitated to do the same, fearful they might spot her following. Curiosity got the best of her.

The park road was wooded and winding. The trees ablaze with fall color. They pulled into the parking lot of what was known as Crooked Creek Trail. Jordan knew it well from her high school days. She and her friends spent many week-end nights hanging out after park hours. The police never patrolled the park, or if they knew the kids were there they didn’t bother them.

Only two other cars were in the lot and Jordan parked far in the corner. The guys got out of their car and headed on the trail that led to the river. Jordan grabbed the beer and took a short cut through the trees. If she got there first it wouldn’t look like she was following them.

A couple minutes after she arrived the guys came strolling out from the trail, Aviator leading the way. Jordan tried to look nonchalant and gazed across the river. Aviator wasn’t shy and called out to her.

“Hello. Beautiful day”

“Yes,” she answered. She wondered what they thought of her, standing along the river, drinking a beer and holding onto the plastic ring with the rest of the six dangling from it.

Ballcap picked up some small rocks and through them one by one into the moving water. He didn’t acknowledge her.

“I didn’t think alcohol was allowed in the parks,” Aviator was trying to be funny. Ballcap pulled a flask from his pocket and took a swig.

“I’ve lived here all my life and drink in this park a lot.” The words left her mouth before she had a chance to think about it. That sounded so lame. She tried to cover quickly. “Want one?”

“Don’t mind if I do.”

Aviator pulled one loose from its plastic holder and offered it to Ballcap. He took it without a word. Aviator took another for himself.

“I’m Frank and my friend is Dodger.”

“Jordan.” She offered her hand. That felt lame as well, considering the circumstances, but he took it. “You’re not from here.”

“It’s that obvious?”

“No, it’s just that I know almost everyone that is from here. Small town and all. Is Dodger your first name?”

He nodded. “My old man was a fan.” He popped the beer tab and took a drink.

“What do you do here for fun?”

Jordan laughed. “You’re pretty much looking at it. You all on vacation?”

“We took some time off to travel.” The sun ducked behind a cloud and Frank put his aviators in the pocket of this long winter-white overcoat.

Jordan had noted how sharply dressed he was for travelling, especially compared to his friend. Underneath his woolen coat he wore black dress pants with black wing tip shoes and a collared purple dress shirt with a pinstriped vest.

“You from New York?”

“How could you tell,” Frank looked over at Dodger and laughed.

“I mean, I guessed because his father is a Dodger fan and he’s wearing a Knick’s hat.”

“You are right.” Frank commended. “The City can get loud at times and we need a break.”

“You did the right thing then.” Jordan smirked.

Frank gave a questioning look.

“Pittney is just the opposite of loud.” Jordan laughed.

They finished the six pack, Jordan and Frank doing most of the talking. Dodger disappeared into the woods once during that time, maybe to use the facilities. The day grew into night.

“You’re telling me the entire county and Pittney is dry? No bars, and you can only purchase beer and liquor from a state store?”

“That’s right.”

Dodger spoke up. “You bought the Pabst at the convenient store.”

“I did, but that’s on the reservation and the owner pays somebody to sell it there. Everyone local knows it and they just let it go because we can get it when we need it. The state store has lousy hours.

“This is America and you should be able to get what you want, when you want it.”

“Dodger, we are not in New York City. It’s different here.”

“It’s still America.” Dodger took the last drink from his flask. “How far we have to go to get more?”

“About twenty miles, but it closed two hours ago.”

“Sucks.” Dodger said.

“It does, but people around here know that and buy accordingly.”

“You have any alcohol at home?”

Jordan thought for a minute. She didn’t and besides that she was living with her parents again. She was forced to move back when the company cut her hours.

“I’m not ready to call it a night yet.” Dodger tapped Frank on the shoulder. Let’s go have a look at that liquor store.”

Dodger withdrew the car keys from his pocket and tossed them to Jordan. “You drive. You know the way.”

Subtle Sovereignty

Hi Friends!

Subtle Sovereignty is a short-short that I have been working with for many years. I completed it, let it sit, did a rewrite and have edited it many times after. It’s more prose than it is a short story, but there is a beginning, a middle and an end. This is one of my favorite pieces that I have ever written. I literally hand-picked each and every word so that the meaning of the sentence was in clear detail and every word giving meaning to the next.  It’s not a piece for everyone, but I hope all of you can find some enjoyment from it.  clh

Subtle Sovereignty

In the center of a dense forest, in an unnatural clearing of land, stands a sixteen-foot statue of Colonel Buford W. Simcox III. He was the third Simcox to have served in the armed forces, but the only Simcox to become a Colonel. The statue’s weathered frame looms as a watchman for the smaller, weaker headstones in the family cemetery.

In autumn, the Colonel’s favorite of the seasons, the cemetery entertains fewer birds. Grave blankets of newly fallen leaves provide less pecking areas. September’s depressed air had turned bitter with an early northerly movement, a rarity in the south. The Sycamore and Elms, the Oaks and Sugar Maples, and even the beloved Cypress, barely had the chance to follow God’s intended cycle to slowly evolve from shades of green, to shades of red, yellow, orange and brown. Early brownies broke away from tree limb to earth in one night’s darkness.

The separated leaves seemed alive, not yet suffering the lack of moisture that cycled leaves would have endured. Piles of leaves pushed down against the heads of blooming chrysanthemums that had been planted generations earlier to adorn granite markers of deceased loved ones. These leaves would remain longer than those of previous years, not easily moved by fall winds.

Colonel Simcox’s surviving wife sat upon a chilled garden bench, wrapped in her heavy wool-blend coat she had purchased years ago at the Montgomery Ward Department Store in nearby Bennington Bay Village. Her mittened hands held a worn out copy of The King James Old Testament. Dementia moved through her like a tortoise, time the hare. Mrs. Simcox became agitated that she had selected mittens instead of the deerskin gloves that the Colonel had made for her over fifty years earlier from the hide of his six-point kill. With her fingers confined, she was unable to turn the pages of the Good Book. Several frustrating minutes later, she gave up trying, completely unaware of the option to remove the mittens to accomplish her goal.

Mrs. Simcox’s attention diverted to a Monarch butterfly as it gracefully fluttered in front of the Colonel’s statue, flirting with the idea of landing on the Colonel’s raised sword. Instead, it caught a down draft of wind and rode it in toward Mrs. Simcox. It circled above the Bible that she held on her lap, making the circle smaller with every round, until its microscopic feet landed on the sun-warmed black cover. Mrs. Simcox removed her mitten and gently touched finger to wing tip. After what seemed a still moment in time to Mrs. Simcox, the Monarch lifted in flight, fluttering upward with apparent delight, and came to rest upon the tip of the Colonel’s sword. Mrs. Simcox opened the Old Testament to the passage she read to her husband ever afternoon since his passing five years ago. Not too long ago she would have had to use the book only as a comfort tool for her hands to fondle while she recited the scripture from memory. But time had passed and that the memory snatching disease forced her to finger every word while she read them aloud. When she came to her favorite line in the passage she raised her voice softly. The butterfly responded by lifting himself high in the air. He danced around the Colonel’s large frame and descended to where she sat and did the same, right in front of her face.

Mrs. Simcox watched the movement with joy. “Colonel, is that you?”

A gust of northerly wind followed immediately and Mrs. Simcox lifted her hand from the Bible to hold her hat down and keep it from taking flight. The pages of King James shuffled in the swirl causing the pages to fall open to a new page. The wind ceased the circle of dried leaves calmed and once again the birds landed to the ground.

A slightly disheveled Mrs. Simcox cleared her throat and blinked quickly to regain moisture in her eyes so she could continue reading. She looked at the pages of the book to place her finger on the familiar words but ending up sitting motionless as if lost in time. The tortoise creeping through her thoughts. The unfamiliar words on the not so familiar pages of King James had temporarily paralyzed her. As if on cue, the butterfly reappeared and fluttered wildly around the open pages. With the help of a gentle breeze the pages mysteriously shuffled back to open on the page where Mrs. Simcox had been reading. She sun came out from behind a cumulous cloud, behind the Colonel, causing the statue to cast a shadow over Mrs. Simcox. She looked down at the pages and saw the shadow, the shadow of the tip of the Colonel’s sword marking the very word she had left off on before the wind had taken over. She placed her finger upon the word and continued to read.

The sun had warmed the garden area. The birds pecked and fluttered while Mrs. Simcox began to read once again to the Colonel. When she had finished, she closed the book and her eyes, tilted her had upward and smiled as the warm sun fell upon her skin. She stood to leave and the butterfly reappeared. He wind danced around and behind her, all the way up the garden path to the house.

Quote for the Day – “The act of writing is the greatest motivation for procrastination” Cynthia L. Hall

The act of writing is the greatest motivation for procrastination. The best way for me to get rest or time off is to tell myself I’m going to sit down and write. Something as simple as a thank-you note can have me sitting in a chair, tapping my fingers and getting nowhere for over an hour. Imagine how long a letter to the editor would take.

Wikipedia says; Procrastination is the practice of carrying out less urgent tasks in preference to more urgent ones, sometimes to the “last minute” before the deadline, and Merriam-Webster; verb – To put off intentionally and habitually.

I love to write, but I’m telling you, if I don’t sit and get started right away my mind will drift and before you know it I will be out of the chair and cleaning, cooking or playing phone games with friends.

What if say, Alexander Graham Bell had been a procrastinator? Paul Revere, Joan of Arc, the Wright brothers, Florence Nightingale, or Santa Claus! Geez!

Or Jesus? It could have gone something like this. Day one, heaven and earth. Day two, the sky. Day three, He chose to procrastinate all day, so, Day four, islands, continents, dry land. (Which should have been day three, um, He is a day behind). Day five, creates all the stars and heavenly bodies. The movement of these will help man track time. He gets a little bored in the afternoon and procrastinates with marveling over his beautiful heavens, so no moon, Day Six, things that fly, things that swim. He tries to make up time and do the moon, but the timing was off, so that doesn’t happen. Day Seven, everybody knows that day seven is for rest, which He does on day three, so I’m afraid there weren’t any days left for the creation of man. Well, that certainly would have changed a few things.

I have one book written. Book two is in first draft and the revision process needs to be addressed. I have several short stories and book ideas that need to be completed. There’s something about having a deadline that throws the procrastinator into action, thus my website and blog, and Short Story Thursday. It’s my opinion that social websites, e-games and phone apps were developed by procrastinators for procrastinators. But then, that’s just my opinion. Well, I’d better hop-to it if I’m going to get anything done, but in a minute. I think I will paint my nails first.

Weather

One of the things that fascinates me about growing older is the things that I have experienced. Take the weather for example, below zero temps for days in a row! Can’t say I really remember that happening before. For those of us in Ohio, we know the weather is forever changing. And as much as I love the Caribbean weather, I also enjoy the four seasons, but extreme temperatures in any season frightens me a bit

I lived in tornado alley for a while and there were some windy days and nights that forced me into a corner in the basement waiting for things to blow over. One particular night I was in bed, almost asleep, when I heard it. The train sounding noise. I got up, grabbed by French poodle in one arm and my cat in the other, and ran to the basement. As I was running out of the bedroom the glass from a six foot window hit the back of my leg. The storm wasn’t listed as a tornado, but it was strong.

My dad grew up in Akron, Ohio and when it rained he would also tell the story that when he was a boy he was outside playing and it rained in his back yard but not the front. I thought that was weird. I know there are rain clouds that only rain in a certain area, but back yard to front yard seemed a close cut-off line. Then it happened to me. I was in the front yard when it started to rain and I ran to the back to put down the table umbrella and found it wasn’t raining at all, in fact the sun was shining.

I spent some time back in the early 1970’s, Naples and Marco Island area. You know sunny Florida. Well, one entire month it was so cold I wished I had packed my winter coat, especially at night. My heavy, winter coat for crying out loud. I did had very sunny and hot weather too. The first day I arrived went out on the beach, first time seeing the ocean and mesmerized by it, and I walked all day long. Up and down the beach. Back and forth, without sunscreen. I guess I didn’t know any better. That night my body became twice its size and, I am not exaggerating. I was so swollen I was unrecognizable. I should have gone to a hospital, but, again, I guess I didn’t know any better. I lived through it.

One summer, years ago in Ohio, it was steadily hot for three months. Randy and I were living in an apartment without air conditioning. On a Sunday afternoon, when the temps were in the 90’s, we couldn’t take it anymore and we spend three hours walking around K-Mart to get in the air conditioning. Hot temps care really make you lethargic. Sleeping was something else.

Now, we are experiencing another extreme weather condition. I can’t help but hope and pray that the electric or our furnace doesn’t go out. I saw people out walking today, without head gear or anything over their face or ears. The news said not to do that, I know I couldn’t. So for the next week or so I will be in a house, at work, or in my heated car.

I’m holding onto the fact that spring is just around the corner and I am hoping for a somewhat normal spring. I think normal is still a thing.

First Date

Hello everyone!

I am going to put out the entire story today because it is a short one! It’s also appropriate for the Valentines Day week.  Enjoy!

 

“I can’t believe I am going on a date. It’s been eight years.”

“It’s been over two years since Ronny’s death. It’s time.

“Thanks for watching the kids. Will you zip my dress?”

Sonja went to help her sister.

Rachel giggled. “I feel twenty again.”

“You’re well past twenty my dear.”

“What do I do if the night ends…well, you know?” asked Rachel.

“You think? On the first date?”

“We’ve worked together for over a year and we have lunch together. It’s not like we hardly know each other. Do I ask if he has protection?”

Sonja laughed. “I’m an old married lady, what do I know about such things? What I do know is that you’re going to need someone to unzip your dress.”

Rachel smiled, and then shuddered. “Ahhh, this is weird. Maybe I shouldn’t go.”

“And waste this perfect little black dress? Not on your life. Go have a good time. I have all night, so if you don’t come home…”

Rachel slapped her sister’s shoulder. “Stop it. I can’t do that.” She pretended to be fussing with her hair in front of the mirror, but was really checking for her sister’s reflection “Can I?”

“Hey, that’s entirely up to you darlin’. I can be here tonight or in the morning. Makes no difference.”

“I can’t believe we’re talking about this. Maybe I should call and tell him one of the kids got sick.”

“Really?” Sonja grabbed Rachel’s arm and swung her around and pushed her clutch purse at her. “Take your purse. He’ll be here any minute.”

Rachel hesitated.

Again, Sonja pushed Rachel gently from behind.

“Rach, it’s like riding a bike, getting back on the horse, um, reciting your time tables. You know…it’ll come naturally for you.” She practically shoved Rachel through the bedroom door.

“I’m light headed.”

“I know, but that has nothing to do with tonight.”

“Very funny. Quit pushing. I can move on my own now, thank you.”

The sister’s went to the living room where the two children were watching TV. Rachel went to the kitchen and came back with a cloth and began dusting the furniture.

“What are you doing now?” Sonja yanked the cloth from her sister’s hands. “Give me that.”

“I don’t want him to think I keep a dirty house.”

“Too late for that,” Sonja teased. “Besides, he’s not gonna be looking at the house when you’re wearin’ that dress.”

“What do you mean?”

Sonja raised her eyebrows and pulled at her blouse button near her breasts.

Rachel slapped her hand over hers. “Is this neckline too low?” she whispered, trying not to attract her five and seven year olds’ attention from the TV show.

“What neckline?’ Sonja made her eyes really big.

“Ohmigod, ohmigod. I’ll go change.”

Sonja had to grab her sister’s arm again. “Get back here. I was only kidding. You look amazing. But he will be looking at you…a lot!”

“You’re making me crazy.”

“Yeah, ain’t it fun?”

Rachel turned to leave again.

“Where are you going now?”

“I can’t remember if I brushed my teeth.”

“You must have. You’re wearing lipstick. You wouldn’t have put it on without brushing.”

“I suppose you’re right.” She cupped her hand over her mouth and blew out a breath for a simple check. “Maybe I’ll use the restroom one last time.”

“You’ve gone two times since I got here. You’re not that old yet.”

“Almost middle aged.”

“Seriously?”

“Well, thirty-four. That’s middle aged.”

“Maybe if it were the 1800’s. Hey, do you remember our very first date together?”

Rachel smiled. “We went out with the Melford twins.”

“I went with Pete and you with John.”

“Afterwards we decided we were with the wrong brother. I should have been with John and you with Pete.” They laughed.

“Those boys sure were horny.”

“Shhh!” Rachel put a finger to her mouth and made a gesture toward the kids for her sister to see.

“Like they’d know what horny is. That is, if they were listening, which they aren’t.”

“Well, I don’t need something like that to come back to haunt me some day. Kids are always listening, especially when you think they aren’t.”

Rachel checked her hair again, this time in the living room mirror. “You know what? I’m just going to go out, have a nice dinner with another adult, and call it quits from there. I’m not ready for a dating kind of thing.”

“That’s just nerves talking.”

“No really. I can’t see myself even having a good-night kiss. There could be hand holding, walking arm-in-arm, smiling and laughing at jokes. All that is so stressful.”

“Oh, I know what you mean sister. Why, all that love and attention. It’s grossly overrated and belittling. You should stay at home and pout.” Sonja rolled her eyes.

Rachel rebutted. “Remember when you and Chuck were dating, before you married? You’d come home from dates blurting out the details, sometimes telling too much information.”             “He was a good lover.” Sonja smiled and looked away in dreamy land.

“I’m talking about before you slept with him. You used to say you were so tired at the end of the evening from thinking up things to talk about all the time.”

“Rach, you know Chuck doesn’t talk a lot. We get a good story at Christmas and Easter. That’s all we really need from him anyway. Besides, he does his talking in bed, if you know what I mean.” Sonja raised her eyebrows and shifted her eyes from side to side.

“Stop that. A good relationship is not always just about that.”

“Agreed, but it sure can help.” The women laughed. “Anyway, you’ll find plenty to talk about. You’ve apparently found things to talk about when you have lunch together.”

“But this is a date. A real date!”

“Don’t make it different. Just be yourself and stop worrying about things that aren’t happening.”

“Everything comes easy for him. He’s so natural, so charming. He’s soft spoken and his every move precise. He’s very nearly perfect.”

“What an awful thing to say,” teased Sonja.

Rachel laughed, “I guess I make him sound too good to be true.”

“He’s probably thinking the same thing about you. That’ll change when he gets to know you better.”

“Hey, I thought you were here for support.”

“I’m here to watch your kids.”

“Seriously, you have been a great help to me since Ronny’s died, and a big confidence booster of late.”

“Just don’t let it go to your head. You may appear too aggressive.”

“I could use a little aggression tonight.”

“Oooo, now you’re talkin’.”

“Stop that! I’m going to send you home to your hubby.”

“No, no, please don’t.”

The door bell rang and Rachel froze.

“I’ll get it.” Sonja started for the door. “You should go back to the bedroom and make a grand entrance like in the movies.”

“Stop teasing. Just get the door.”

“I’ll do that while you breathe.”

Sonja opened the door, introduced herself and let Paul inside.

“I’ve heard a lot about you. Nice to meet you,” answered Paul.

“Can I get you something to drink?”

He looked at his watch. “No thank you, we have dinner reservations.”

Rachel moved forward to greet him and the heel of her shoe got stuck on the carpet. She tripped. Paul immediately stepped in to catch her as she stumbled.

“Are you all right?”

“Fine, I’m having the carpet removed on Monday.” A rush of adrenaline made her laugh louder that normal and she quickly changed the subject. “Paul, I’d like you to meet my children. Kids, come meet Mr. Cline.”

They jumped to their feet and stared at their guest.

“This is Justin and Sara. This is Mr. Cline.”

Seven-year-old Justin stuck out his hand like he had been taught. “Hello, Mr. Cline.”

Paul took his hand, “Justin, nice to meet you, and this must be your sister, Sara?”

“She doesn’t shake hands yet, she’s too little,” Justin noted.

“That’s all right, we can just say hello.”

“You’re charming just like mama said,” Sara said.

“Oh dear,” Rachel blushed.

Justin added, “Aunt Sonja says you’re horny too. Is that your job?”

“Wha…” stuttered Rachel.

Sonja and Paul laughed. Rachael stood in shock wishing she could disappear into the wall.

“Well, Justin, it’s not exactly my job, but it is something I aspire to.” Paul gave a wink.

Sonja took the children by their hands, “Just look at the time kids. Let’s go watch Barnaby, or Dorrie, or whatever TV show you watch.”

Justin turned back around for one last comment, “Mommy said she’s going to ask you for protection.”

“Oh Paul, I’m so sorry. I think that’s our cue to leave.”

Rachel looked back as she hurried Paul out the door. Sonja was practically doubled over in laughter.

“Very funny. Oh yeah, I probably won’t be coming home ever again so you can finish raising my children. See if you think that’s funny. Rachael takes her sister’s advice and makes a sweeping exit like in the movies.

A Word About Saint Valentine’s Day…

I just finished watching the movie, Valentine’s Day, staring a boat load of popular people like, Ashton Kutcher, Bradley Cooper, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Alba, Julia Roberts, Jamie Foxx, Eric Dane, Jessica Biel, Queen Latifah, Patrick Dempsey, Topher Grace, Taylor Swift and the list goes on. I like the movie. I have seen it before and I watched it again, so I must like the move, but not so much because it’s a great movie (I prefer movies that make loud noised and blow things up) but because it really portrays the angst single people, not in a relationship, go through on a commercial holiday that carries with it so much pressure to be involved with someone, to have a significant other, and to show them-or prove to them-that your feelings for them are very real. Possibly stronger than any of your friends relationships. (wink-wink)

Oh, don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with showing your spouse or dating buddy that you do have feelings for them, but does that really have to be crammed into one day? One day in February? I did a little research and found a few versions of how Saint Valentine’s Day actually started.

The 14th of February was the appointed day to remember Saint Valentine. Who was Saint Valentine? There are many floating stories surrounding that as well. One story suggest Valentine was arrested and imprisoned for refusing to worship pagan gods. He made friends with the jailor’s daughter and through prayer, cured her of some terrible disease, On February 14th, the day of his execution, he delivered a written note to her signed, Your Valentine.

Another story implies Valentine was a Roman priest (around 270 AD) that performed marriages in secret, against the laws of Emperor Claudius, who a one-time forbid marriages.

A couple of other stories; Valentine helped Christians during a time of persecution. He was arrested and wrote notes, before he was clubbed to death, signed Remember your Valentine and I love you.

Anywho, whoever he was and wherever he came from, a legacy was left from him that has lasted years. It might have been easier for some to stick with the idea of a nice signed card, eh? I digress.

My favorite part of the movie (Valentine’s Day, in case I lost you), is the yearly VD dinner that all the single women go to when they are not partnered with someone, when they consider themselves “losers”. The party is held in an ethnic restaurant and during the party the other restaurant patrons get involved with their party, at which time the women don’t really realize that they are probably having more fun than a lot of the other characters in the movie, who are battling relationship problems. It’s worth the watch—and maybe on Valentine’s Day itself. Yeah?

A word about last-minute gift ideas…

Trying not to break the bank? Take your sig-other on a hike, then finish it with hot chocolate. Try a CD, make a dessert, or make a card. Nothing says “Uber Special’ like something homemade. Buy them a book by their favorite author, what’s this you say? You don’t know who that is? Well–my book is available on the SHOP page, and I will sign it! :}

Guys like tools, grunt-grunt, but remember Christmas has passed so not a generator; more like a wrench. A single flower can say a lot more sometimes more than a bunch. Attach a piece of poetry (that someone else has written) and Vállal!

Whatever you come up with I’m sure it will be fine. Just don’t add any pressure and enjoy the day!

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