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From the Publisher's Desk – Somehow, my heart isn't in it (Feb. 11, 2015 issue)

“NO WAY,” was the first thing out.
I’m speaking of a recently opened bag of candy hearts. Remember, the kind most of us ate for Valentine’s Day as youngsters? Obviously I am still pulling out the wrong answers all these years later.
Maybe my memory slips me, but I remembered them tasting better as a youth. I also think the writing was a little clearer back then. It could just be my vision, but some of the red-lettered words look like blood smears.
I continue to read and eat. After all, sugar is sugar when it is within reach of my keyboard while typing this column.
“UR MINE,” was the next lucky draw from the large bag. I felt like I was deciphering a text message. You know all the cutesy shortcut lingo you have to stare at before it clicks what the sender was intending?
“MAD 4 YOU” and “UR MINE” were followed by “LUV ME.” Obviously there is desperation going on here.
I always enjoyed Valentine’s Day as a Unicoi County elementary school student. I am sure many of you remember the teacher handing you one of those small, white bags to decorate. With a box of Crayola Crayons, some red construction paper, Elmer’s glue and a pair of scissors, we were free to get creative. Don’t forget to put your name somewhere on the front.
The night before Valentine’s Day I would be busy signing my name on cards and trying to find the right message for each one in class. None of them were offensive. In fact, most were relaying messages of love from claiming someone’s heart to seeking their friendship.
At the end of the day we could take our bags home and go through the many messages. With a good imagination, I would look for hidden meanings of love in the small cards. This was communication before e-mails and texting.
I received the familiar cartoon characters, cupids and super heroes. My favorite were the Peanuts characters.
Valentine’s Day as an adult takes a different spin. I have given and received nice meals, flowers, candy and gone to area events.
Your Erwin Record staff is an office of mostly single, non-dating males and females. It’s not that we don’t date, when the opportunity presents itself. It just doesn’t present very often. We had to keep putting off our 2014 Christmas party due to not being able to find the right opportunity for all to be there. We even considered holding it over until Valentine’s Day so we could all go out and celebrate together.
Maybe it is just our dedication to work and not letting anything get in the way of this newspaper. We certainly won’t have to worry over feeling left out on Valentine’s Day. I don’t expect any of us to receive flowers, candy or gifts.
Some of my favorite cards now are called “someecards.” Many of you have seen them posted to Facebook.
I checked out some of the witty cards for this year. Here are a few.
• I can’t believe how much I’m not sick of you.
• I’m so proud you’re my Valentine that I hope we run into one of my exes.
• Just remember that being alone on Valentine’s Day is no different than any other day.
• Sorry that right now there’s a fourth grader who has 29 more Valentine’s than you do.
• The only way I could be lonelier today is if the Internet stopped working.
• I’m falling in love with you and would like to go on a second date.
• Let me know the absolute minimum I have to do for Valentine’s Day to avoid us breaking up.
• It’s not what you do for me on Valentine’s Day that matters but the amount of jealousy it provokes in others.
I also did some research to and found out that more than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate are sold for Valentine’s Day each year.
On average, men pay out $130 each on candy, cards, jewelry, flowers and dates. That’s more than double what women commit to spending.
About 8 billion candy hearts were produced this year; that’s enough candy to stretch from Rome, Italy, to Valentine, Arizona, 20 times and back again.
About 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged in the U.S. each year. That’s the largest seasonal card-sending occasion of the year, next to Christmas.
Worldwide, over 50 million roses are given for Valentine’s Day each year.
I just reached back in my bag of candy and pulled out a heart with “AWESOME” on it. I think I will stop with that one. Someday someone may think of me that way. For now, I’ll just wait until the day after Valentine’s Day and buy some discounted chocolates for myself.
I do have some pretty awesome friends. If you read last week’s column, you know I celebrated my birthday. I think I received a version of the “Happy Birthday” song at least five times from various groups. One is still on my voice mail at work from Gene and Sally Ramsey. They are always so considerate and supportive.
Bobby and Becky Love brought me some delicious pastries. Numerous times over the years they have brightened my day with something thoughtful. They reach out in numerous way to so many in the area.
The staff at The Erwin Record had me a cake, ice cream and chips one afternoon. We all gathered around our conference table at lunch and shared the food and lots of laughs.
Gift cards, meals to celebrate and many well wishes rounded out the day.
Love comes in many forms. I am glad to be loved and love no all year long.