The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

A Valentine Heart

By Ashby Hartwell Williams © 1987

Issue: February, 1987

Mazie and Ben had been married for three whole years now. She considered herself to be the luckiest woman in the world. Ben was good looking, a hard worker and a romantic.

They had got married on Valentines Day and for a wedding present, Ben had given her a little porcelain music box in the shape of a heart. "You know you have my heart for always. This will keep reminding you," Ben had said as she unwrapped the present. Mazie had wound it up and listened as the heart played, "I'll Be Loving You Always."

Mazie and Ben courted for two years before they were married. Even then Ben was every woman's romantic dream. Every time he came to see her, he brought her something, a bouquet of flowers he had picked, a small bag of candy, always something to let her know he thought about her in everything he did. He never made a big deal out of it. He liked to surprise her. And Mazie looked forward very much to those surprises.

They weren't wealthy, by far. But when Ben went to the store and returned with her favorite candy bar in addition to all the list of farm supplies, Mazie knew he was thinking about her. That candy bar was just as good a present to her as a diamond ring would have been. The worth of Ben's thoughtfulness was considerably more than mere diamonds.

Today was February 14th and Mazie was getting excited. It was their third wedding anniversary. She and Ben hadn't discussed any plans to celebrate. She just knew he would make it something special.

On their first anniversary, he had given her a little heart shaped basket, "to hold lots of love," he said. Last year, on the second anniversary, Ben had presented her with a heart shaped wooden box that he had made himself.

Mazie looked out the bedroom window. "Looks like snow." The sky was a deep consistent gray. A wind was blustering around the barnyard and she could see that a few puddles were beginning to freeze over. Mazie's gaze lifted to the road beyond the barn. There was their pickup heading in to the farm, a trailer behind it. Ben had gone to buy day old calves at a nearby dairy. It was harder to raise calves this time of year, but they were so much cheaper that it was the only way to make a real profit on them.

Mazie turned from the window. She automatically headed for her warm outdoor clothing and boots to go help Ben unload the calves. There was a lot of work to be done.

The trailer was backed up to the open barn door. Inside the barn, fresh hay had been put in the stalls, waiting to receive their new residents.

There were eight little brown and white calves huddled together in the back of the trailer, making low scared sounds. Ben and Mazie went to work getting the calves out of the trailer and secure in the stalls.

When the last calf was in place and starting to settle down, Ben put his arm around Mazie. "Come here. I've got a surprise for you."

They walked arm in arm to the cab of the truck. There was a big box on the seat with holes punched in it. Ben unfolded the flaps of the box and lifted out a fuzzy black and white border collie puppy.

Ben placed the puppy in Mazie's arms. As the puppy raised its head to look up at Mazie, she saw that right in the middle of its forehead, framed in solid black fur, was a perfectly shaped white heart design in the fur.

Of course! It was her heart present this year!

Mazie looked up at Ben and smiled. She hugged the puppy and it began to lick her face. "I thought we could call her Sweetheart," Ben said.

Mazie was thinking, "Valentines Day will always be my favorite holiday of the whole year!"