InspirEmail No 78 - February 13, 2006
'Inspirational messages to refresh the spirit and boost the emotional bank account'

Valentine's Day Ambush

'Valentine's Day is for expressing love to all those you care about!'

Valentine's Day always brings to mind the year I was Ambushed! I was a senior in High School. Yet, during my childhood Mother was in charge of Valentine merriment. There was always a sweet card, possibly a small knick-knack of some sort, and always something mouth-watering from her oven. To this day I have her heart-shaped cake pans that turned out scrumptious treats of love on Valentine's Day.

Grade School Valentine parties are always remembered. Hours were spent adorning an old, dilapidated shoebox hoping it would be unique amongst all others. Kleenex roses, (a fad for a number of years of fashioning roses out of Kleenex tissues with a few fancy folds, twists and turns), coloured craft paper, and crepe paper could concoct a masterpiece of beauty in the eyes of a little girl. With a slot cut in the top of the boxes, classmates would deposit Valentine cards for one another throughout the day.

By mid-afternoon, volunteering Mother's of the children would appear with cupcakes and cookies for a Valentine celebration. While munching away, we'd open our embellished mailboxes to see who did, and who did not care enough to share a card of friendship. Mother never failed to threaten my life if I didn't give a card to each child, and reminded me how I would feel to open a nearly empty box.

It was a lesson from a wise woman which has never been forgotten. I still recall crestfallen, little faces peering into boxes which held only a few expressions of friendship. I learned early on that Valentine's Day is not just about romantic love.

Class parties faded away with the coming of Junior High and High School. Nonetheless, I do recall a few tokens from 'the puppy love of the moment' during those teenage years. And Valentine's Day of my senior year out-shined all others by leaps and bounds.

Mother had prepared Dad's favourite meal for dinner, as well as a fabulous heart-shaped layer cake. Once she realized he was late getting home, she kept her eyes fixed on the clock.

'I'm really getting worried. You know your dad is never late for dinner!' Her voice was anxious. She busied herself keeping dinner warm without burning anything, as she paced back and forth to the window.

Being a self-absorbed teenager I continued with my phone conversation until I heard the door open and Mother scolding, 'Where have you been? I've been worried sick!'

I rounded the corner at the same time Mother did, to see Dad standing with his arms full of flowers and a box of chocolates. He was smiling as he spoke. 'Happy Valentine's Day, honey!' In an instant Mom had thrown her arms around him. He looked like a juggler trying not to drop the gifts while graciously accepting Mom's embrace.

Mother's new bouquet took centre stage on the table and we sat down for dinner. Next to my plate I spied a small package! 'What's this?' I was filled with excitement and surprise.

'Just open it!' Dad's blue eyes were sparkling and mischievous.

I ripped into it and found a brand new bottle of Ambush cologne! 'Dad, did you buy this all by yourself?' I squealed.

'Well, kind of. It took some help from the clerk, and I didn't think I'd ever get home for dinner.'

A Valentine gift from my dad! I was stunned and gave him a huge hug. 'How did you even know what kind to buy?'

'I've seen your bottles around here a million times, and figured I could remember the name if I thought about western movies - you know they're always ambushing each other. Everything was fine until the clerk asked me what kind I wanted. I told her Apache.'

'Apache!' I giggled.

Dad kind of snorted and informed me it wasn't that funny at all. The clerk insisted there was no such cologne, while he swore there was. They went round and round until he decided maybe he had forgotten the name, but made it clear he would recognize the smell since his daughter seemingly bathed in it. That's when the 'misting marathon' began.

'I was sneezing and nearly sick from so many different smells, and then suddenly she hit on the right one. I'd know that smell anywhere!'

Never once have I asked Dad what possessed him to buy me a gift that year. Realizing my days under his roof were soon drawing to a close has always been my suspicion.

Again I remembered the lesson learned as a child - Valentine's Day is for expressing love to all those you care about.

Roses, teddy bears, and cupids abound each February creating what will one day be fond remembrances. As for me, warm memories of my Valentine's Day Ambush are revisited!

They reside in a special niche of my heart.

Written by Kathleene S. Baker

Kathy resides in Plano, Texas with husband Jerry, and two precious pups, Hank and Samantha. She enjoys writing, needlework, and fishing. As a freelancer, she has contributed to newspapers, anthologies, magazines, online ezines, Chicken Soup for the Soul and writes a weekly column entitled The Heart of Texas.

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A monthly positive inspirational story and quote to refresh your spirit and boost the emotional bank account. InspirEmail was first published in November 2005 and each issue can be viewed in the Archived InspirEmail Directory located below the latest issue of InspirEmail

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