In case you haven’t noticed, and you would have to be a space alien from the planet Mercury not to, it’s nearly St. Valentine’s Day. Not to worry. There is still time to make that very important purchase. Retailers have their stores crammed with big red hearts filled with lots of delectable chocolates. Or how about a dump truck full of flowers from the neighborhood florist? Anything red will do nicely. And don’t forget the card! Personally, my favorite greeting cards are the singing versions. Just ask the Hallmark lady. I think she came over to the card rack and admonished me twice during my last shopping trip. Not so much for opening all the singing cards … probably more for falling down in the aisle and laughing just a little too loudly. Apparently, she thought I had it all over Tickle Me Elmo. Since our girls were little, every year my husband has made it a point to purchase his two daughters a red rose in a bud vase for St. Valentine’s Day. And each year they act so surprised, just like it was the very first time. Katie and Mimi remind me of two giant M&M’s, sweet to their chocolate core, only these two melt in a little puddle right through their candy coating in the palm of their dad’s right hand. When I was growing up, every year my dad used to present my mom with a large box of Whitman’s chocolate. It was, and still is, a tan-colored rectangular-shaped box with all kinds of chocolates. Whitman’s calls it their sampler. If I’m not mistaken, the box had double-decker layers of candy. I really liked their road map on the underside of the lid. If you didn’t move the chocolates around to another spot in the box, everyone could tell what kind they were going to pop into their mouths next. My eyes still sparkle when I think about my favorite … the dark chocolate, nut clusters. In my opinion, Whitman’s could of made a whole 10-pound box just with the clusters, but they never asked me. If we were especially good, Mom would let each of her five kids occasionally choose a piece from her Whitman’s box. It wasn’t very long before all the good stuff seemed to have mysteriously disappeared. Pretty soon a war broke out over what, if any, chocolate treasure was left in the box. Each time the box was opened, chocolates got switched around so no one knew the difference between a nougat and one of those nasty cream-filled ones. It was the girls who suspected it was one of our little brothers, Pete or Carl, who poked the pieces from the back, when no one was looking, and then returned the yucky ones they didn’t like to the box. Just as in the Civil War between the north and the south, there really weren’t any winners in the battle over Mom’s Whitman’s sampler. Of course, valentines don’t always have to come from one of your local retail establishments. The best gifts often appear like the “poof” from a magic wand. Sometimes they show up in handwritten notes, or even handmade pictures made from red construction paper and cut-up paper lace doilies. I’ll never forget when our special needs child learned to string three very important words together. Mimi, despite well over a decade of speech therapy, has mostly spoken in only one-and two-word phrases. To this day, her very longest sentence is “I want TV now.” I know she sounds like a demanding little thing, but hey, if you couldn’t reach the “on” button and you knew Wheel of Fortune was on, I betcha you’d get a little testy. Some years ago, Mimi’s favorite program was Barney. It’s not possible that you don’t know of the big purple dinosaur. He jumps around a lot and sings all kinds of songs with little kids on the PBS station. While many jokes have been made of the purple dude, it is certainly a very wholesome show. Little kids love him, but he’s very annoying to the rest of us … including me. At the very end of each episode, Barney sings the same closing song. I don’t know if the song has a title, but at the Frantz house, we call it the “I Love You” song. It starts out, “I love you, you love me,” and there’s a part about a great big hug, and well, most of you know the rest. Barney is the reason Mimi can say “I love you,” which actually sounds more like “I wuv you,” but no one seems to notice. Mimi just blurted it out one day right about Valentine’s Day in that Barney sing-songy way. No way Wal-Mart is gonna come up with a price large enough to put on a gift like that. So whether you are getting that special valentine candy, flowers, chocolates or one of those gifts that come without a price tag, have yourself a very happy St. Valentine’s Day. Dixie Frantz is a Kingwood resident and newspaper columnist for the past 12 years. E-mail Dixie with your comments at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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