A Different Kind of Valentine



I spotted the box by my side door. I didn’t order anything; what could this be? I thought. The return address was New Jersey. I knew in an instant it was from Deb. I remembered she told me the week before she was sending me something, but it arrived a day earlier than expected. When I opened the package, the first thing I saw was a picture of a beautiful, yellow, tiger-tail, butterfly. I lifted it out to take a closer look; it was a card. Beneath it were packed treasures; a soft scarf, with a chevron design of purple, orange and gray, a small calendar that had hilarious one-liners for each day, a small black box that revealed a beaded bracelet of natural stones surrounded by silver beads and a small jade heart on a silver chain. Hidden at the very bottom was a book. I recognized it immediately. It had been given to me by another close friend back in high school. The cover was torn in a couple of places. It clearly had been beat up over the years. I opened it. The pages had yellowed, but otherwise it was perfectly preserved inside.

My dear friend of fifty-four years sent me this thoughtful package. It wasn’t my birthday, no special occasion, she sent it just because; she called it a “fun package.” I call it an I care about you package. She happened to be talking to a former classmate who somehow ended up with my book and had it all these years packed away in her to move to California. She kindly mailed it back to Deb who tucked it into the bottom of the box. I thought I had lost that book a long time ago, so, I replaced it with a new one. Now, after fifty years, the original copy found its way back to me. The inscription inside was dated 1972. My final year of high school would follow; a year of monumental change. It turned out to be a book filled with words of wisdom that I found myself referring to many times over the years. These words appear on the pages of The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. He speaks of friendship:


“And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.

For in the dew of little things the heart finds it morning and is refreshed.”

-The Prophet, p. 59, Kahlil Gibran


As Valentine’s Day approaches, this reminds me there are many things we value, many things we love. But let’s not forget the love and value of friendship; especially those that have endured the many years gone by. Like the book, our covers may be worn and our pages a bit yellowed, but inside, our hearts are perfectly preserved holding the love of friendship that we’ll continue to share through many years ahead.

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