Put a Little Love in Your Heart

This historical account went on to explain that over time, the holiday was “Christianized,” to which the goats of the world gave a collective, bleating, hip-hip-hooray, since no more sacrifices would be warranted. Over the centuries, the holiday gradually morphed into the celebration that we have today.

I, for one, have very fond childhood memories of Valentine’s Day. During my time at East Derry Elementary School, we looked forward with eager anticipation as February approached. We would bring in our carefully chosen shoeboxes and work diligently to make them beautiful. Scissors snipping, paper flying, Elmer’s Paste slathered on, and lace paper hearts taking center stage. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the glitter, lots, and lots of glitter.

They had to be perfect to be worthy of the deep sentimentalism they were about to receive. I’m sure you remember the deep, heartfelt messages that tugged at your heartstrings, especially if they came from that boy or girl you had a crush on! You know the ones. Here are a few examples: One card had a caricature of an ear of corn that stated, “It’s corny, but shucks, I’d sure like to hear you say you’ll be my Valentine!” Or perhaps the one with two smiling hot dogs that said, “Let’s be frank, I want you for my Valentine.” So perhaps, after careful reconsideration, my statement about them being deep and heartfelt was a bit tongue in cheek!

We were all especially excited when there was a heart-shaped lollipop, or a box of conversation candy hearts attached. Although, I must admit the conversation hearts tasted a whole lot like nothing, tasteless, chalky nothing, although they were fun to read. The white ones are alleged to have a minty flavor, but you couldn’t prove that by me. I was more of a SweeTARTS kind of gal. Giving me something sour was the way to my heart.

Once we grew into adolescence, things became much more complicated. These were the years when we didn’t often receive valentines, and in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, we would begin stressing because we didn’t know if that special someone we had our eye on, even realized we existed. This is when it began to register that not everyone is in love with Valentine’s Day. Some dread its arrival and even grow to hate it. Perhaps it is because they are not the most outgoing, popular, or attractive, and they find themselves left out, sad, and lonely. Hopefully, this is also when we begin to realize that everyone deserves to be noticed, everyone deserves to be loved, and we must look purposely to find the ones who are not. Let me interject here that I am proud to say that there is a club at Mifflin County High School, PAWsitive Vibes, that does an outstanding job of reinforcing this concept for the students there. They are a very inclusive group and in many small ways work to spread the love.

Now that we have entered adulthood, it is my hope that we have taken the time and opportunities to hone our skills of compassion and caring and remember all of those around us on Valentine’s Day. Especially those who may not have someone to remind them just how loved and special they are. Let’s tear down the stereotypical practices of focusing only on romantic love celebrated with lavish gifts and gestures and show some love to our families, neighbors, communities, and friends. To quote Katharine Hepburn, “Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get—only with what you are expecting to give— which is everything.” Let’s put a little love in some hearts.

Rhonda S. Kelley, Executive Director

Juniata River Valley Chamber of Commerce