April 21 • 09:13 AM

Will you be my Valentine?

February 08, 2017
Next Tuesday, February 14, is Valentine's Day. According to Wikipedia: "Saint Valentine is a widely recognized third-century Roman saint commemorated on February 14 and since the High Middle Ages is associated with a tradition of courtly love."

St. Valentine's Day was a day of feasting for certain religions. I didn't know that. I thought Valentine's Day was started by a card company as another day to send cards to someone.

When I was a little kid (and probably when you were, too) in elementary school the teacher had us "send" a Valentine card to every other classmate regardless of gender. Some kids made their cards and some of us bought a bag of cheap, colorful, die-cut little beauties in a store. The cards had brief sayings on them so we had to be careful whom we sent what card to. I didn't want to send a "You're really cute" card to one of the guys.

In addition, I was reminded by classmate Angie Wilson Fisher, each of us had to make and decorate a mail box, probably out of a shoe box with a slot cut in the top, to put them in. I'd forgotten that part. She recalled that fellow classmates, Chris Hough and Sally Rinderknecht, both very artistic and creative, usually had the nicest boxes. Sally Sawyer always made a nice one, too.

I don't remember how I decorated my box but since Angie didn't mention it, I guess it wasn't a prize winner. But, no matter.

I do remember that I signed all of my outgoing cards "Ricky L." I'm not sure why I added the 'L' since I was the only Ricky in class. But the last name letter did matter to some kids. There were Sally S. and Sally R., for example, in addition, to David T., David H., and David V.

It was a fun way to spend a few minutes in class and have a few laughs. But it also served a purpose. According to friend and former teacher, Judy Kefgen, "It was a way to spread good will and to promote inclusion." That's a good idea and worthy cause.

I also remember those tiny candy hearts. You know the ones with one or two words on them. Things like "BE MINE," "I'M YOURS," "LOVE YOU," etc. I think the class may have shared some of those tasty treats, too.

Later in my life Valentine's Day became even more significant…and more expensive. I didn't have to do anything for everyone but if I had a special someone, more than a little die-cut card was expected. Usually flowers, candy and sometimes even dinner were required as well as a nicer, more "mushy" card.

After I met Sue, Valentine's Day really became a biggie. Sue likes "rocks." That's what she calls precious stones and gems. She says I am very good at picking out rocks. Rocks adorn her lapel, wrist, fingers, ears and hang around her neck. I told her tattoos would be good…and cheaper…but no, she insists on rocks. Not every year, though, thank goodness.

Since I'm not into rocks, Sue gave me one of the best gifts of my life one year when she put a red ribbon around a glass cookie jar and filed it with small folded pieces of paper on which she had written…in red…reasons that she loved me. There were dozens of them. Yes, really! I still puddle up when I read them.

Back to the days when we had to give a Valentine to all classmates. It was a great way to interact and get to know each other.

So here's an idea. Let's all write to Senators Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer as well as House leaders Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi and tell them that EVERY Member of Congress in both houses should send a Valentine to EVERY other Member.

On Valentine's Day each Member will put out a box that they have made and every other Member has to walk past and drop their Valentine in the box. This should be done in regular session with ALL Members required to attend on the floor.

Each Member will be required to say hello and Happy Valentine's Day as they deliver the cards. Recalling what Judy Kefgen said, it would be a great way for Members of Congress to "spread goodwill and promote inclusion." Nothing else seems to have worked.

Members could also give out little candy hearts with words like "USA FIRST," "COMPROMISE," (that will have to be a bigger piece of candy), "GET ALONG," "GOOD POINT," "WE'RE FRIENDS," etc.

It probably would be good to include President Trump in this exercise, too. He could use…and deliver… a little TLC himself.

What do we have to lose? You can email them or, if you want to send a letter, the House Zip Code is 20515, the Senate is 20510 and the White House is 20500.

Come on, Congress. Will you be my Valentine?

Email Rick at

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