Natalie's batch of Valentines'sI suppose it began a few years ago when I was in the States, and dear Francis was in bonny Scotland. We weren't actually dating, but he was going to come and visit me in a month or two, and man, did I have a crush. Valentine's Day rolls around, and I think, what can I do that's not soppy, but may convey a slight bit of affection? So I roll out the water colors and paint an anatomically correct heart and in the ventricles I write in Latin, "love conquers all," hoping that's discreet and spiritual.
Well, I forgot to sign it, so a few weeks later, Fran asks in his way, "Uhh, so, did you send me a Valentine?" OF COURSE I SENT YOU A FLIPPING VALENTINE. WHO ELSE WOULD SEND YOU A VALENTINE IN LATIN?!? Did he translate it? Negative. Drat! Foiled by my own intelligence.
Well, a few weeks ago Fran and I had a bet, and I lost, and the result was that the loser had to send the winner a package. So I drew a cartoon, and along with a pamphlet, 'The Radio Talks of C.S. Lewis," gently slipped it through the box. The next day Fran texts me and says, "I got the best package from my cousin. And man have they learned to draw since last time." At this point I am banging my head on my desk in frustration, incurring bruises the size of watermelons.
So this began a little package war, where we each sent each other (inexpensive) surprise packages in the mail. So far, I have received Pulp Fiction, which was ACE. My turn rolled around again, and in a way that I thought was a hilarious and obvious joke, I sent him a calendar with flowers on it, directly misleading with the return label of his grandmama. There was no postage; it couldn't have fit through the mail slot; I even wrote his gran's address incorrectly.
The next day I stroll into his kitchen to see the calendar hanging proudly on the wall, and nonchalantly I ask where it was from. The response, I should have seen coming from a mile off: "Oh yeah! Gan Gan sent it to me! A little odd, but nice all the same." It's only at this point that I become slightly aware of the twisted sense of humor I possess and that perhaps I should stop torturing innocent persons.
So Valentines Day 2012 rolls around, and what do I do? I write him the same Valentine in Latin I did so long ago, and sign it: To Fran, From Nat. Fran opened it and smiled: "Love conquers all, right?" Who can resist that smile? IT IS ADORABLE. And do you know what else I'm thinking? LOVE DOES CONQUER ALL!!! And not in the mushy, aww-sweety-you're-wonderful way, but in the ever universal, platonic, love-conquers-every-miserable-thing-and-infuses-this-life-with-something-divine-and-that's-the-only-reason-I'm-alive-and-sending-you-Valentines-in-stinking-Latin way. OMNIA VINCIT AMOR. You better believe it does, buddy!