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2006-02-07 00:00

  My Forever Valentine

  The traditional holidays in our house when I was a child were spent timing elaborate meals around football games. My father tried to make pleasant chitchat and eat as much as he could during halftime. At Christmas he found time to have a cup or two of holiday cheer and do his holly-shaped bow tie1. But he didn't truly shine until Valentine's Day.

  I don't know whether it was because work at the office slowed during February or because the football season was over. But Valentine's Day was the time my father chose to show his love for the special people in his life. Over the years I fondly2 thought of him as my "Valentine Man."

  My first recollection3 of the magic4 he could bring to Valentine's Day came when I was six. For several days I had been cutting out valentines for my classmates. Each of us was to decorate a "mailbox" and put it on our desk for others to give us cards. That box and its contents ushered in5 a succession6 of bittersweet7 memories of my entrance into a world of popularity8 contests marked by the number of cards received, the teasing about boyfriends/girlfriends and the tender care I gave to the card from the cutest boy in class.

  That morning at the breakfast table I found a card and a gift- wrapped package at my chair. The card was signed "Love, Dad", and the gift was a ring with a small piece of red glass to represent my birthstone9, a ruby10. There is little difference between red glass and rubies to a child of six, and I remember wearing that ring with a pride that all the cards in the world could not surpass11.

  As I grew older, the gifts gave way to heart shaped boxes filled with my favorite chocolates and always included a special card signed "Love, Dad". In those years my "thank-yous" became more of a perfunctory12 response. The cards seemed less important, and I took for granted the valentine that would always be there. Long past the days of having a "mailbox" on my desk, I had placed my hopes and dreams in receiving cards and gifts from "significant others", and "Love, Dad" just didn't seem quite enough.

  If my father knew then that he had been replaced, he never let it show. If he sensed any disappointment over valentines that didn't arrive for me, he just tried that much harder to create a positive atmosphere, giving me an extra hug and doing what he could to make my day a little brighter.

  My mailbox eventually had a rural address, and the job of hand delivering candy and cards was relegated13 to the U.S. Postal Service. Never in ten years was my father's package late-- nor was it on the Valentine's Day eight years ago when I reached into the mailbox to find a card addressed to me in my mother's handwriting.

  It was the kind of card that comes in an inexpensive assortment14 box sold by a child going door-to-door to try to earn money for a school project. It was the kind of card that you used to get from a grandmother or an aging aunt or, in this case, a dying father. It was the kind of card that put a lump in your throat and tears in your eyes because you knew the person no longer was able to go out and buy a real valentine. It was a card that signaled15 this would be the last you receive from him.

  The card had a photograph of tulips16 on the outside, and on the inside my mother had printed "Happy Valentine's Day". Beneath it, scrawled17 in barely legible18 handwriting, was "Love, Dad".

  His final card remains on my bulletin board today. It's a reminder of how special fathers can be and how important it had been to me over the years to know that I had a father who continued a tradition of love with a generosity of spirit, simple acts of understanding and an ability to express happiness over the people in his life.

  Those things never die, nor does the memory of a man who never stopped being my valentine.






  当我长大了一点儿,礼物变成装满了我最喜爱的巧克力的心形盒子,并且里面总是有一个贺卡写着"爱你的,爸爸"。在那些岁月里,我的感谢更多地成了一种敷衍的反应。贺卡似乎不再那么重要,而且我认为情人节礼物理所当然总会在那儿。在我的书桌上放个"信箱"的日子早已过去,我已经把我的希望和梦想都寄托在从 "其他重要的人"那里收到贺卡和礼物,而"爱你的,爸爸"就似乎不那么重要了。







  1.bow tie 蝶形领结

  2.fondly adv.充满感情地,深情地

  3.recollection n.回忆

  4.magic n.魅力,魔力,施魔法

  5.usher vt.(与in搭配)展示,预报…的来到

  6.succession n.(前后相接的)一系列

  7.bittersweet adj.又苦又乐的

  8.popularity n.得人心,声望

  9.birthstone n.诞生石(象征出生月份表示吉祥的宝石,从1月至12月通常分别为,石榴石、紫晶、血纹绿宝石、金刚石、绿宝石、珍珠、红宝石、缠丝玛瑙、蓝宝石、蛋白石、黄玉、绿松石)

  10.ruby n.红宝石,红宝石制品

  11.surpass vt.胜过

  12.perfunctory adj.敷衍的

  13.relegate vt.交付,托付

  14.assortment n.分类

  15.signal vt.表明,标志着

  16.tulip n.[植]郁金香

  17.scrawl vi.涂写

  18.legible adj.清楚的

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