Thursday, February 14, 2008

I Wish I Had a Picture

Ah, magical Valentine's Day! Have I mentioned how thankful I am for a third Valentine's Day that's truly a happy one?

Looking back, the two V-Day's before I met Clay were both spent at The Starbird Show with The Twenty, which is good fun, but I was struggling with stupid stuff both of those years -- one when the guy I had serious feelings for showed up with someone else, and one when the guy I was spending time with (but lacking serious feelings for) was out of town for the weekend. Seriously, if you're drivin' across four states to see "your sister" while I'm stoppin' by your house to feed your cats, I am not your girlfriend, and I'll be spending a little time with the guy who sent me flowers at school on Valentine's Day my senior year. Even if we're only buddies and it's romantically meaningless, hey, at least he's here.

Over the years, I've had some frighteningly sad Valentine's Days, and some amazingly lovely ones as well. At least two were first dates with guys I met on AOL. I spent one in Shidler Oklahoma (howdy Go0gle!), where the scenery was beautiful, the food was good, the Grandma was a sweetheart, but the snuggling was a no-no and I slept alone in the guest bedroom while date boy slept on the couch. I got dumped on one, and there was one where I was trying to put off dumping someone right before Valentine's Day. I still kinda feel bad about that, especially since he said "Something's not right..." at dinner and I spilled my guts that very second. It was not pretty, and I'm sure the folks who were in the Prattville Mazzio's that Monday Valentine's night are still talking about it too. I never did tell him that I'd had a truly incredible Valentine's Date the Saturday Night before. All in all, I guess my nice ones, decent ones, and mediocre ones have outweighed the bad ones...

Possibly due to flippin' through an elementary school yearbook last night and also possibly due to reading a post from The Redneck Diva this morning which mentioned that elementary school tradition, "The Valentine Box," I got to thinkin' about all those grade school Valentine's Day Parties. The antique-y television made from a styrofoam cooler sounds like a very cool idea, I don't think I ever saw anybody make one like that. Truth-be-told, I remember very little about other people's boxes, and I can't recall a single one except for the mailbox with a Barbie Doll in a cute red dress standing beside it.

The ones I remember most are the ones My Mom made; and there were at least three, maybe more, that were nearly the same with variations of red, pink, and purple. They all got started with this blonde-haired plastic doll...

I know, I know, there's at least one reader who's sighing deeply and thinkin' about that time he "read a few thousand words to find a cat lickin' a blanket," but stay with me, y'all, this is a whole different babydoll.

She was a little under two feet tall, and somewhere between cartoony and realistic, and she stood (or sat) in the traditional pose of the Barbies who don't have elbows. She didn't have winky eyes, she didn't drink or pee or make any sound, her hair was her main selling point; she was "Sue And Her Beauty Salon." She came with her own perfectly sized pink & purple plastic chair with all the little holders for her hair goodies -- everything from brushes and curlers to a real (ish) battery-powered blowdrier. "Sue" was the perfect size for Mom's Valentine Box idea; and I still have no idea where she came up with it -- could've been a magazine, could've been those birthday cakes, I'm not sure.

My Mom, even though she had me at 36 and was older than most of the other moms, was pretty damn cool. With sewing and crafty experience, My Mom took her Smokey-n-The Bandit Trans-Am (or later, her '79 Mustang Indy Pace Car, or her flood-rebuilder Honda Accord) through the drive-thru at KFC each of those three years to spend fifty cents (or later, a dollar or two) and buy a big red & white cardboard bucket; just like chicken comes in, only brand-new and chicken-free so as not to be all greazy.

She also bought rolls and rolls of streamers, the crinkly crepe-paper kind, and sat with a needle and thread gathering yards and yards of crepe-paper into ruffles to cover the entire chicken bucket. She cut the middle out of a tube sock to perfectly fit the doll much like a tube top, which she carefully embellished with more smaller strips of gathered crepe-paper, including ruffled straps and a pretend zipper down the back; and once that was secured to the doll (with only minimal glue, because hey, we don't keep our clothes on with glue), the bucket was turned up-side-down with a hole cut in the bottom for the doll to stand in, bringing together the perfect "Southern Belle" ensemble, complete with a slot for Valentines to be dropped into her skirt.

I have no idea what ever happened to the doll, or her chair, or any of the lovely chicken bucket dresses.

She may be in the back of the top of a closet somewhere though, and maybe while I'm lookin' for something else, I'll run onto her.

Happy Valentine's Day Everybody!

More later... _\,,/

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