You see, he was born on February 14, 1917 in a little place just outside of Salt Lake City. Twenty four years later he met his Sweetheart, and they married on Valentine's Day, 1941.
During my childhood, once the potentially heart-breaking ritual of giving and receiving classroom Valentines was done for the day--my Grandfather created a family tradition of always giving a box of Senor Murphy Chocolates to all the granddaughters and ladies in the family. It was a treat I continued to cherish until 2006~~ the last Valentine's Day my Grandfather was present for.
My Grandfather was an amazing person. His interests were varied and spanned the realm between nuclear physics and teaching himself to play the piano late in his retirement. He was praised for his remarkable ability to grow the sweetest corn that side of the Rio Grande, and was the first to show off his computers~long before anyone owned a "personal PC" much less a laptop thinner than a notebook. He used to read Tolkien to me when I was probably too little to understand what I was hearing. And on those rare mornings I had to catch the schoolbus from their house, he made a point to serve me Cornflakes with homemade vanilla ice cream simply because he could, and noone else (not even my Grandma) would complain.
Being a girl, I've always been a sucker for all things Valentine: cupcakes with pink frosting, heart-shaped boxes filled with chocolates, home-made paper hearts, and secret admirers. But thanks to my Grandfather, I've never been one to complain when my own Sweetheart showers me with compliments rather than roses, mostly because I've come to value the long-lasting love that comes with family, and that seems to trump all the commercial consumerism that most holidays seem to be about.
Anyway, on this Valentine's Day, I continue to miss my quirky but wonderful Grandfather, and I'll be sure to cherish even more my sweet little Valentines, and my very special Sweetheart.
Happy Valentine's Day!