Pinch of Salt Graphic (English)

Will you be my Valentine? How about be my funny Valentine?

How about don't send the Valentine's Day card back unopened?

When I was younger and more willing to let my cynical side show, I used to rant and rave over the made-up holidays — Valentine's Day chief among them. It clearly was a conspiracy between the card companies, candy makers and florists to boost sales.

There also was the Charlie Brown effect. I have an unfortunate tendency to see myself as Charlie Brown, and the cartoon where he opens the mailbox, vainly looking for a Valentine, is burned into my brain. There were years where I truly dreaded the day.

But it appears that I've mellowed in my old age. That and the fact I've been blessed with a pretty special Valentine.

I'm actually looking forward to Valentine's Day this Sunday.

It's not all personal, either. In my 67-plus years, there's seldom been a time when our country needed love more than this year.

I realize that hoping for love today is quite the reach — a little simple civility would be considered a win in most quarters. But you have to aim high to hit high.

And, believe it or not, there is reason for optimism. The single plus that I can come up with over the last pandemic year has been the love we've seen expressed from one individual to another. The stories of sacrifice, of selfless giving, abound.

The trick, of course, is to convince our leaders — both local and national — to follow the examples their constituents are providing. Perhaps we can recruit Cupid to loose a few of his spiritual arrows towards the people who need it the most.

I can hear you saying, "How naive can he be?" I know that the issues we face today are complex, and the directions we take will dictate our future path. And passions run high — just take a look at our mailbox today.

But we have to start somewhere. And I'd like to go back to the basics.

Yes, it's a Bible verse; a quote from one of Jesus's sermons. Five little words. Say it with me now:

"Love thy neighbor as thyself."

Now that's a Valentine.

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Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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