The response to our call for Valentine's love letters was terrific. Unfortunately, we couldn't possibly print all of them. Below are the ones that didn't get into our print edition last week.
MDES Director of Communications, Jackson and Representative Ferr Smith, Carthage
The Woman in Her
She walks in beauty, like the night
O cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
I will love her until eternity dies.
The Child In Him
I love the child in him so innocent and sweet
The mischief in his eyes the blush upon his cheek
The tender way he speaks that shows me that he cares
The touch of his warm hand that gently touches my hair
The smiles that we share that fills my life with glee
For when I with him I find the child in me
And I two will love him forever
From Carl Gibson
Capitol reporter for Mississippi Public Broadcasting, Jackson
I love telling tall tales and fables. The ones that come to mind for most people are the "Chuck Norris Facts." Lots of those came from the mid-'90s "Saturday Night Live" "Bill Brasky" sketches, where four drunken men sat around and told each other tales of their coworker's feats of virility and wanton endangerment of lives, both in admiration and fear. But I think both instances leave out a person even more worthy of celebration and respect. That person is my good friend and comrade for the cause, Karen Futch, an attorney who practices here in Jackson.
Did I tell you about the time Karen took me horseback riding--except there weren't any horses? We were at a ranch in Wyoming, and she threw a saddle on my back and rode me around the mountains for three days. And wouldn't you know it, I developed tremendous leg muscles. So she enters me in the Breeders' Cup under the name "Turkish Delight." And I'm running in second place, and I'm running, and I fall and break my ankle! Right when they're about to put me down, someone in the stands, God bless him, gets up and says, "Don't shoot him! He's a human!"
Okay, well maybe that didn't happen. But she is an excellent Salsa dancer. She's always up for a good time. And as slick as I may perceive myself to be, she can always manage to be slicker. This is for you, Karen. Happy Valentine's Day.
From Diana Howell
Co-Founder, Fondren Theatre Workshop
My Beloved Fellow Weirdos, Both With and Without Valentines:
There's this great song from the "Knocked Up" soundtrack, "Strange Weirdos" by Loudon Wainwright III, which celebrates how we're all strange in our own way, and the miracle of discovering that in another. The same goes for friendships as in romance in this "strange weirdo" universe. Thinking about my friends and co-conspirators, I realize what I revel in are their idiosyncrasies--the things that simultaneously make them enigmatic or infuriating but deliciously different in just the right way. They've all got talents innumerable and immeasurable which move me beyond words, but what I love about them are those personality quirks and they way they seem to understand and appreciate mine.
Then I think of my friends who are still alone in their strangeness, and it makes me sad. These are some of the most unique, gifted, loving people in the world, and for one reason or another, love has simply eluded them. If there's someone for me, there ought to be someone for them, too. I want each of them to know not just love, but, perhaps more importantly, the acceptance that comes from finding that corresponding "weirdo." Maybe they get snagged up in the chorus of Wainwright's song--"If I let you know me, then why should you want me?" and never realize that "each day I don't is a great shame."
Thank God for my entire family of strange weirdos. May each of you find and/or hold on to your own.
From Pamela Hosey
Self-published author/Retail Manager, Solstice Sunglass Boutique
A Very Special Valentine's Day From a Mother to a Daughter
To Arshemon Shelton
I must say that I wanted February to take its time. This year, in just nine more days, you will turn 18. "This birthday," you said, "I will be a grown woman." One thing we know for sure is that this Valentine's day, you will not find a room full of heart shaped balloons saying how much I love you or the big, fluffy teddy bear holding a heart. You said you have outgrown those things. I have avoided all Valentine's Day aisles in the stores; thank me later. Instead, we are going to search for your first car. The car you will use to leave home and venture off to see what this crazy world has in store for you. My Valentine's Day message for you is that I love you and whenever you are feeling lonely while you are away at college, squeeze on of those fluffy teddy bears, or call home your mama because I know for sure that I will be missing you, too.
From Katherine West
Dear Ringed Map Turtle,
I love your basking-in-the-sun style. I love that mohawk of a shell you are born with and how it softens with age. I love the yellow rings on your back and how proudly you wear them. I love how you look prehistoric but are really only 8 or 10 or 12-years-old. I love the metaphors you stand for and how slow turtles move and how it's so right for you. I love how you hatch from a shell that's like leather and how you live the rest of your life in a hard shell you can hide in. I love that you swim. I love how it feels to hold you, your invisible limbs and head slowly poking out and then disappearing--quick--if I move a finger. I love how your endangerment is a reason to be kind to the earth and I love how your scarcity makes you special. I love how your turtle friends live in all kinds of places--like warm ocean beaches or deserts or great lakes, but not you. You don't live in any of those places. You only live in the Pearl River. And that's the reason I love you the most. Not because of all the places to live you've sticking it out in the dirty and damned Pearl, but because you're proof that where I come from is special, that things live here in this land and air and that will not live other places, and that there just might be something in the water.
I can hardly wait till it gets warm and sunny and I can spy you soaking up the sun.
From Lydia Chadwick
JFP Graphic Designer, Brandon
Thank you for saving me from a life without true love. Thank you for sharing that love with my child and treating her as your own. I can't wait for what the future holds as we grow old together. I don't deserve someone as good as you. I thank God every day for thinking that I do and blessing my life with you, Blair and Kael. Happy Valetine's Day. I love you.
From Ashley J
JFP Ad Sales Lady, Jack-town!
Neola "Cupcake Lovey" Young
Neola, without you I would be lost, literally; I can't drive at night. You always know just the right amount of laughter, hugs, tears, beer, bourbon, tacos, cupcakes, dancing and debauchery to make all my worst days better. You introduced me to Audre Lorde, we danced our way from Memphis to New Orleans and talked about everything and nothing. "Party in the USA," "You," and "Kiss Me Through the Phone" are on my playlist forever. Thank you for being my friend. I dig you and your pretty dresses.
From Mandy Mott
Not Fire Not Ice
by Ben Harper
There is not a river wide
Not a mountain high
And neither sin nor evil
Could change how I feel inside
Not all the strength of the ocean
Not all the heat from the sun
Now, others have tried, I just can't deny
To me you are the one
The true love is priceless
For true love you pay a price
But there's nothing can keep me from loving you
Not fire no not ice
Like a hero or a champion
You are the best, you're the best
Like religion or superstition
With you I am blessed
Now the river may grow wider
The mountain may reach past the sky
And whether or not you feel same
My love shall never die
The true love you give and take
The true love is sacrifice
But there's nothing can keep me from loving you
Not fire no not ice
I love you Brian Mott. I am so happy to know I will spend the rest of my life with you.