Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Hi neighbors. Happy Valentine's Day! I hope you have lots of romantic plans for the day and the evening.

Often this holiday is attributed to Romans who would draw names on this day to determine who their 'friend with benefits' would be for the following year.

Traditionally here in America it is a day to celebrate true love with flowers and candy and little cards declaring love and affection.

In schools, children exchange valentines that often depict the current television attractions. Instead of cupids or hearts, these cards might show a Transformer, My Little Pony or one of many Disney Princesses. The school party for this holiday usually includes cupcakes with little heart-shaped candies with short messages printed on them.

The romantic aspects associated with this holiday make it awkward for those children entering adolescents and valentine exchanges can be embarrassing. For less popular students, an empty valentine collection box or bag can be very humiliating. Most teachers insist that each student must give a valentine to every other student in their room to avoid this angst.

Over my career as a reporter for the Nevada Daily Mail, I had written many stories about love as interpreted by pre-teens, teens and adults young and old. Amazingly I have discovered that 'true love' was defined in almost the same terms by all ages.

Phrases like, "someone you care more about than you do yourself" came from high school couples when defining love. Gifts suggested for one's steady girl or boy friend were CDs, candy, tickets to a concert or movie and a meal at Sonic.

Young married couples celebrated with a parent's night out from their young children. Going to a show or out for a nice diner inside a cafe and flowers were the treats exchanged. They defined true love as "someone who puts family first" indicating that family was the basis of their relationship.

I have known couples who married right out of high school and remained in love for 60 plus years together. It seemed to me that as their bodies weakened with age, their love grew stronger. Love to them was defined as "someone you've shared your life with, they've always been there and you can rely on them."

The word love is a strange coin of the English language. Many people use it lightly in this day and age. Young girls will say, "Oh, I love that dress!" referring to tangible articles as a desired thing.

Love is used when referring to inanimate objects as well with "I love to hear that song!" referring to an experience as evoking a sense of enjoyment.

So, what is love? How do you define that short word? Do you use it out of hand for everyday items or experiences? Do you hold onto it for years, reluctant to attribute it to any one person? If attached to another, do you use the word love to excuse demands for favors?

What is love? This question has inspired poets, songwriters and novelists for centuries. And don't forget those little heart-shaped candies with their one or two word explanations.

Maybe those most in need of love can define it: soldiers on the battlefield define it as a person to come home to when the battle is over. Young engaged women define love as beginning a new shared life with the man they have chosen. Young men define love as the woman who will make a home with them, have their children and support their life choices. Seniors define love as the person or people who still call and visit and share a concern for their well-being.

Perhaps the best definition of love is from an innocent; a toddler who begs grandma to hold them and read them a story. Sounds simple enough doesn't it? But think about it; this simple act offers them a safe and secure viewpoint to learn about an ever expanding world.

Until the next time friends, remember love is a very special word and it is one that only you can define.