February 14, 2015

By Arthur H. Gunther III


If we could count the number of valentines not sent on this day in seasons past, they might amount to many unanswered letters. For that is what a valentine is, a response.

Perhaps beyond the teacher-inspired handmade cards that you were to bring home to your mom in the lower grades, you never let her know again your response to her concerns, care, love for you.

Maybe you meant to put together more of those cut-out 5&10-cent-store hearts and cupids that classmates assembled. But you neglected to send one to her or him, an unanswered response to that person’s interests.

Then there was the dating time, and you were ignorant of not only what was expected but what a well-chosen card and a few simple but truly meant words could mean to the other person. Responses ignored.

In marriage, there can also be ignorance or forgetting, but the need to reinforce, to repeat affection and gratefulness and so many other gathered emotions does not disappear even in the regular day-to-day accomplishment. Responses are necessary, reaffirmation of giving.

Lost opportunity, that, when emotion, in whatever form — a card, words, a deep look in the eyes, a touch in passing — does not happen. They are the valentines that should have been sent.

The writer is a retired newspaperman who be reached at ahgunther@hotmail.com