The Best Laid Plans . . . - The Missourian: Feature Stories

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Sights and Insights The Best Laid Plans . . .

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Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 12:00 am

I was proud of myself. The Monday evening before Valentine’s Day I picked out lovey-dovey and funny greeting cards for my husband, daughters, grandkids, a buddy and my mom. I also bought some of those candy hearts with the sayings on them to tuck in the grandkids’ cards. I snapped up the very last bag on the shelf.

Then I went straight home and got them ready to mail, a first for me. I have a habit of buying cards and not sending them. My intentions are good but my follow-through isn’t.

The old cards remain in my stationery drawer, a hallmark example of procrastination — “Get Well” cards for folks who have done just that and “Congratulations on Your Baby,” cards for newbies now in first grade.

I scored last week because I not only had all of the valentine cards I needed, I also had stamps. That was a plus. All I’d have to do was drop the Columbia-bound-card and the Washington cards in the outside post office box in town and take the St. Louis-bound-cards to the city with me so they’d be sure and get there in time.

I had a plan, and you know the old expression about God laughing when you have one of those. Something is sure to go wrong.

Of course I couldn’t just sign my name to the cards, I also had to add some lines of sentiment. Which I did. Then I opened the bag of Brach conversation candy hearts, vowing to eat just one.

Those little candies are a favorite of mine, and my sister loves them too, but I prefer the hearts when they’re stale and hard. This particular batch of Brach’s was as soft as the Stark wafers you used to be able to buy at matinees when films like “The Fly” and “Peyton Place” were showing.

If you’re a baby boomer or older you’re sure to remember the shock of not being able to see which wafer you were getting in the darkened theater, expecting a tasty green or pink one, and drawing a stinky black one instead.

You can still buy Stark wafers online, but I’m not sure about candy cigarettes, another retro treat that used to be high on my list but now might be banned. Fortunately, conversation hearts are still around. I silently gave thanks for that as I scattered the pastel candies on the counter to choose just the right saying for each of our grandchildren.

As has always been the case, some of the expressions were illegible, words running off the sides of the heart, but these seemed more of a mish-mash of letters than most.

“Probably some computer lingo I don’t understand,” I said aloud trying to decipher the sayings. The empty bag in the trash provided the answer to my dilemma. I’d bought conversation hearts with Spanish sayings. You could have heard me laughing in Tijuana.

The experience piqued my curiosity. It turns out Brach’s conversation hearts come in a lot of different languages, Russian, Greek, Chinese, Norse, Italian and German, among others. I could have read the latter if I’d nabbed a bag of those.

You’ll recall what I said earlier about God laughing when we have a plan. Only one of our out-of-town daughters and her kids got their valentine cards on time, the Kirkwood crew. When I told them about my guffaw with the Brach’s Spanish hearts, Reed, who’s in third grade and worldly wise, wasn’t the least bit surprised.

“We had those at my school valentine party,” he said, hardly blinking an eye. So much for Mee Mee keeping up with the times, or being on time. But I get an “Atta Girl” conversation heart for effort.

Wonder how you say that in Spanish?

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