Every one knows Valentine’s Day is coming up. And no, I’m not talking about the movie. More than any other holiday, Valentine’s Day comes with a lot of baggage. More than a lot of people don’t really care for it. But I do. My big secret is that I’ve always been a romantic. Probably since birth. And even on those Valentine’s Days where I felt miserable and alone (we’ve all had them, no reason to be macho), I liked the idea of the day, and I tried to put some effort into showing my romantic spirit for someone. Some quick examples before I get to my point:
In high school I once stood outside the girls’ locker room with a bouqet of roses and sang a bad love song to a girl who was busy getting ready for PE.
In college I once spent the last $75 I had to my name, to give a friend her first real Valentine’s experience. I bought her flowers, balloons, a stuffed animal, and cooked her dinner.
One of my sisters and I got tattooed together on Valentine’s Day and then had lunch together, as her husband was out of town for work.
This year my wife has banned me from getting her flowers, but I can’t stand the idea, so I found a loophole. Today actually marks the three year anniversary of when she sent me an email out of the blue (she was a friend of another of my sisters), which resulted in a relationship and exactly three months later, marriage. So after work today I’m going to buy flowers and give them to her when I walk in the door. (Of course, knowing my luck this will be the first time she reads one of my Big Other posts and my cover will be blown).
A writer who I think shares my spirit of romanticism is Ted Kooser. For over 20 years he’s been writing a Valentine’s poem and mailing it to women who sign up to receive it. You can read more about his amazing Valentine’s project HERE.
Last year I wrote a Valentine’s poem in the spirit of Kooser, and emailed it to every woman in my email address book. I love the idea, I love the spirit of it. Everybody deserves to know they are in the thoughts of another, and that’s why this year I’ve decided that I’m not going to limit it to women. And I’m taking it beyond that. Not only will I be sending a new Valentine’s poem to every one in my personal email address and to everyone on my Facebook friends list, but to everyone who emails firstname.lastname@example.org with their email address. All you have to do is send me an email at that address. I will keep this email address going, so people can add their name to the list throughout the year, and only use it once a year to send out the Valentine poem. I encourage you to share this with anybody and everybody. And then when your Valentine arrives in your inbox, know I was thinking of you, that I appreciate you.
Ryan W. Bradley has pumped gas, changed oil, painted houses, swept the floor of a mechanic's shop, worked on a construction crew in the Arctic Circle, fronted a punk band, and managed an independent children's bookstore. He now works in marketing. His latest book is Nothing but the Dead and Dying, a collection of stories set in Alaska. He lives in southern Oregon with his wife and two sons.