Crow's-Feet Chronicles: Take a bite out of Valentine's Day
By Cindy Baker Burnett
Feb 14, 2024
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To live above with saints we love

Will certainly be glory.


To live below with saints we know---

That's another story!


Who was Saint Valentine?  Was he a postal employee who worked on commission?  Did he operate a chocolate factory?  Actually, he was a martyred saint in ancient Rome.  Legend has it that St. Valentine fell in love with the jailer's daughter while he was imprisoned.  Before he was put to death, he sent her a letter and signed it, “From your Valentine.”  And, you know what they say about the rest---it's history.


Cindy Baker Burnett
Who among us hasn't looked at Valentine's Day as an opportunity to play practical jokes and whimsical pranks?  I remember the year that I bought two large boxes of Valentine candy.  Very painstakingly, I removed the cellophane wrapping of each box, lifted the lid, and removed the tufted white heart-shaped paper.  Then, very methodically and deliberately, I picked up each piece of chocolate candy and took a slow, savoring bite.  And, just as carefully, I positioned each half piece of teeth-trenched candy back into its brown pleated paper.  Did I swallow every bite?  Of course.  I couldn't spit out the chocolate, any more than I could leave a French fry on the plate. 


The first dozen decadent pieces were delicious.  In fact, I felt that I had gone straight to Heaven on Willy Wonka's chocolate gizmo.  By the time I opened the second box, my enthusiasm had diminished and my chew rate had stalled.  But I marched on, determined to complete my prank.  Once the Valentine boxes were re-wrapped, I asked an acquaintance to deliver one box to a local banker friend, Craig Buford, down the street and the other to a good natured attorney, Buster Cole, in the next block.  I couldn't wait to hear about their reactions.  The joke was on me, though, because I missed the next two days of work---I was home with a stomach ache. 


My intentions were good, however.  But, it depends on how you define “good.”  Even the very young have ideas for Valentines' Day.


Back in 2013, little Joey Goldstein came home from first grade and told his father that they learned about the history of Valentine's Day.  “Since Valentine's Day is celebrated for a Christian saint and we're Jewish,” he said, “will God get mad at me for giving someone else a Valentine?”


Joey's dad thought about it and said, “No, I don't think God would get mad.  Who do you want to give a Valentine to?”


“Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,” Joey said.


“The leader of ISIS? Why,” his father asked in shock, “would you want to give a Valentine to the leader of Al Qaeda’s Iraqi army?”


“Well,” Joe said, “I thought that if a little American Jewish boy could have enough love to give Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi a Valentine, he might start to think that maybe we're not all bad, and maybe start loving people a little bit.  And if other kids saw what I did and sent Valentines to Baghdadi, he'd love everyone a lot.  And then he'd start going all over the place to tell everyone how much he loved them and how he didn't hate anyone anymore.”


Joey's father's heart swelled and he looked at his boy with new-found pride and said, “Joey, that's the most wonderful thing I've ever heard.”


“I know,” Joey said, “and once that gets him out in the open, the Marines could shoot him!”