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JOHN EGGERS COLUMN: Valentine's Day is for kids and for you

Let's hark back to the glorious days of yesteryear when we were children in elementary school. As kids, we looked forward to Halloween and Christmas, Easter but Valentine's Day was something just a bit better. It was the one big day when each of us would be recognized by each of our peers as being special. Remember when our teachers reminded us, more than once, that it was important to give a valentine to each of our classmates so no one would be left out?

Our teacher told us to bring a box to school. Many of us brought old shoeboxes to decorate. We were given red and white construction paper with which we wrapped our boxes and then we had to carefully cut the slot in the top. We decorated the red boxes with white hearts which might have a valentine message on it like "I luv u" or "Be my valentine" with a drawing of a "bee" for "be". We then eagerly waited for Valentine's Day.

The teacher made room on top of the bookcase for our boxes. Sometimes the teacher had us vote on who made the nicest box. Our classmates would bring goodies from home for the party, which consisted of cupcakes and cookies with those red-hot candy hearts on top of a thick white frosting. There might be a mom or two in the room to help with the party. We were served red "Kool Aid" to drink (it was usually warm). It was a tradition in my class to vote on a valentine king and queen. The same ones were elected every year. Coincidently, they got married after high school. How sweet!

Of special interest to us was receiving a valentine from a boy or girl who we hoped to be our girlfriend or boyfriend. When the time came to open our boxes and look at the valentines, it was the valentines from those kids we looked forward to reading the most.

We carried our box of valentines home and after supper we took it out to read them once again and try to discern any hidden "love" messages given to us by that special someone.

Valentine's Day is a great day for kids. I hope today that teachers have retained some of those traditions that made it so special many years ago. I think they have. Think of it, for this one-day every child is viewed by his peers as being someone special. It may be a bit superficial but no one is left out. All are recognized as being good people.

Our president is thinking about having a military parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. For what purpose, I can't imagine than just to feed his ego. I'm sorry, but this military parade idea has to be the most moronic proposal our president has come up with yet and he has come up with some doozies.

What would be better than a military parade? How about a parade of thousands and thousands of young people marching down Pennsylvania Avenue? Everyone could be carrying a homemade sign having to do with peace on earth. Now that would be a parade. The president would win over many people with just a big parade of kids promoting world peace and not war. He and the First Lady could lead the parade holding hands with kids. It could be done on Valentine's Day, the day of love. Now that would be a doozy, but a good one.

I hope each of you are recognized this Valentine's Day because it's a day for you, too. Valentine's Day is challenging for couples who have been together for years. After 50 years of marriage, what do I get Kathy? Candy is still good. Flowers are better. A night out is good. (Make your reservations today.) Watching a movie is fine. We decided not to give any special gift this year. I will probably make a homemade card with a silly riddle on it like:

• What did one light bulb say to the other light bulb? (I wuv you watts and watts.)

• What did the boy sheep say to the girl sheep? (I love ewe.)

• What did the girl sheep say to the boy sheep? (You're not so baaaaaa-d yourself.)

I still have some of those valentines given to me by my classmates many years ago. Someday, I will take them out and look at them and pay close attention to the ones I received from that "special" person. Happy Valentine's Day. I hope it is a special day for you and make it special for someone you care about.

Riddle: What did the boy pickle say to the girl pickle? (You mean a great dill to me.) It's good to mean a great dill to someone.

John R. Eggers of Bemidji is a former university professor and area principal. He also is a writer and public speaker.