It’s not like he was going to forget, but living 40 miles from town he wasn’t going to have a chance to get one of those fancy Valentine’s Day gifts or even flowers. So that morning he fixed his little bride a hearty breakfast, and told her he loved her as he rode out to go about his chores. She waved to him from the porch and then went back in to the house to go about her day.
She turned the radio on and it was playing her favorite love song, “At Last” by Etta James. She found herself dancing around the living room singing right along. A tear slid down her cheek as she listened to the part of the song that said, “… my lonely days are over and life is like a song.” Thoughts of her being all alone on this day with no plans began to sneak into her mind. She found herself wondering what all her friends back in town might be doing on this special night. But for her she knew there would be no fancy restaurant to eat at, and no glamorous ball to go to with the man she loved. Then she remembered the reason she fell in love with this cowboy. He was a gentleman, a man whose heart was as big as the sky in which they lived under and he was truly her dream. She quickly dried her tears and remembered her hard-working man and her good, fulfilling life.
As the cowboy was out looking for some cows he had missed the day before he begin to think about the beautiful woman he had left at home. She was a woman who never asked for much, but gave it her all. She stood beside him through thick and thin – always encouraging him, and never doubting him. He paused and thought to himself, “This woman needs a Valentine’s Gift!” But where am I going to find a gift out here in this vast countryside? There sure ain’t no Wal-Mart around and FTD don’t even know where we are!” All that day he thought about what he could he do to make this day special for her, but things that normally didn’t happen on a day-to-day basis seemed to rear their ugly heads. Cattle were stuck in a bog, a cow was having trouble calving, fences were broken and to top it off his horse came up lame. It was going to be a long walk home leading his companion. A crippled horse wasn’t something he had time for, but he remembered what an old-timer told him once, “All things happen for a reason, some good will surface to the top somewhere.”
He just wanted to get home before dark and fix his wife a special dinner. Maybe even serve it on the fine china they got for a wedding gift and break out that bottle of wine they had been saving back for a special occasion. But not today – it just wasn’t going to happen.
As he walked along a song came into his heart, it was the tune they danced to at their wedding, “At Last.” He tried and tried to hold the tears back but they had broken the barrier and the floodgates opened. His heart was broken because the woman of his dreams was at home alone and there he was drifting in a lonely pasture. He had no special gift and there wasn’t time to make that dinner he had planned.
When he lifted his head to continue the long walk back to the house he saw sagebrush and some dried-up broom weed. His eyes lit up. He reached into his coat pocket and found some twine and began wrapping the sage and broom weed together. Methodically he made each round with the twine smooth and tight. At the end, he laced the twine back through itself so there was no knot. No beginning or end in sight, just one continuous piece. He had his bouquet, now all he needed was a card.
He was on a mission to make it back to the house by dark even if he had to drag his old horse! When he finally made it home the sun was just setting in the western sky, painting a picture he wanted to freeze in time. He hurried to the barn to unsaddle his horse and there he tore off a piece from an old feed sack and began to write…
Shannon My Love,
I love you very much and this little winter bouquet didn’t come from a fancy flower shop. I picked it on the way home. In the most barren of times when winter still has an icy grip, there is beauty. You are that beauty amongst the darkest and coldest of times. When the hope of spring seems so far away, you warm my days and my heart. Happy Valentines Day, I love you.
He put his flowers in a coffee can and headed for the house. When he opened the door he was shocked – the table was set, the fine china was out and their favorite song was playing on the radio. When she came around the corner there wasn’t any, “Where have you been?!” or “You’re late I’ve been waiting for you!” She simply said with no question, “Glad you’re home, now sit down and let me bring you supper on this special day.” As she went back to the kitchen he set his meager little flower arrangement on the table with the card and hoped she wouldn’t be disappointed. When she came back in and saw the gift and read the card, tears began to run down her face. She looked up at him and said, “This is the most beautiful bouquet I’ve ever seen.” He looked at her in relief and replied, “Everyday with you is Valentine’s Day.“
It doesn’t take fancy or extravagant gifts to tell someone that you love them on Valentine’s Day. It simply takes the act of telling them. Remember to never take the little things for granted, always tell those around you that you love them and cherish each small winter bouquet like it’s the greatest gift in the world. Because even small gifts, when given with love, speak with great volume.