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The Samurai's Heart by Walt Mussell

The Samurai's Heart

by Walt Mussell

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Undercover Penguin

My wife is not into Valentine’s Day. She wonders why a special day is needed and prefers not to celebrate. I like the holiday and use to spend time trying to think of romantic things to do, but whatever I did ended up looking goofy. I once created a trail of chocolate kisses in the house that ended in big heart. My wife was not impressed. I tried the traditional flowers idea. They’re nice, but well….

These days, I just get a card. Usually, I select something long before the big day. This year, though, I was delinquent. So, last night, I found myself at Kroger with the hordes of other delinquent males, picking from what was left of the V-Day cards. It was a little after 7:00 p.m. I had just dropped Andrew off at his Cub Scout meeting and had gone out instead of returning home under the pre-text of needing to refill the gas tank.

The first card I noticed was one of two penguins, resting comfortably in bed under a thick comforter. It says, “This Valentine’s Day, I’m going to give you something you’ve always wanted.” Open the card and you see the words, “The covers.” The picture inside shows one penguin snuggled in the blanket, while the other one has no covers and is freezing. This card is a perennial. I see it every year and it reminds me of my wife. She is perpetually cold. If I take an early a.m. trip to the bathroom, I come back to find that the covers have disappeared from my side of the bed.

Every time I see the penguin card, it makes me laugh. I gave it to Mo four years ago. I don’t remember what gift I gave her, but I’ll never forget her opening that card.

“Do you like it?” I asked.
“Yes, I like it,” she said. She then smiled, “I also liked it last year when you gave it to me.”
“I gave it to you last year?”
“Yes…and two years prior to that.”

Since that time, I can’t help but notice that penguin card every Valentine’s Day. I sometimes want to buy it again as a joke, but never do out of concern she will think I actually forgot again. Instead, I found another card, went and picked up Andrew, and headed home.

When I returned home, the house smelled of baked goods. Mo had been busy, baking Valentine’s Day cookies for the boys’ classes. A pile of less than perfectly shaped cookies was available for me to taste test. She had already spent the afternoon helping the boys address cards for their classmates and had helped Christopher prepare a special Valentine’s Day present for his girlfriend, Lily. I greedily ate the cookies and got the boys ready for bed.

As of this writing, I’ve yet to give Mo the card. We have a Valentine’s Day lunch planned, just the two of us, as well as extra nice dinner. I’ll give it to her eventually. Unfortunately, I realized, it looks familiar, like another card that comes out every year. I hope that it’s not one I’ve given her before.

3 comments:

Devon Gray said...

Thanks for the early morning laugh! As for the repeating card...hey, if you find something that works, stick with it. I'm not big on Valentine's Day, either. I always tell my husband that if he is planning on buying me a bouquet of flowers that costs twice as much as it would on any other day, that I would really rather have the cash. Roses die within a week. My new three inch patent leather heels will last much, much longer. Hope your card was a hit!

Karin said...

Very funny! It makes me wonder if I've ever done this - I'm sure I have! Cute title too..

Carol Burnside said...

How funny, Walt! I don't think I've ever repeated a card, but it's possible after...approx. 30 Valentine's Day's.

And don't start trying to calculate my age! We've been celebrating Valentine's since I was 14, okay? It was Arkansas. These things happen.