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Early Gift from My Valentine

I never know what my wife is doing in her art studio. Occasionally I hear some clunks and rattles, but basically she paints in silent seclusion.

Frequently, she emerges to share her progress on a painting. Studies it for a while and then scampers back upstairs to her studio.

Today, she brought me an early Valentine’s gift with special meaning. The painting is from a scene at Orkney Springs, Virginia.

In past articles, I have shared my love for this historic spot. In the 19th century, it was a resort for the wealthy in search of the healing powers of the mineral springs. They stayed at the Grand Hotel, a strikingly amazing structure still in existence today. It’s one of those places off the beaten path that causes you to wonder, “How the heck did that get here.”

In the mid 1960s, Orkney Springs hosted symphony workshops. That’s when I discovered it. Offered my first opportunity to study trombone under a professional classically trained musician.

I later learned that my grandparents grew up nearby. You can read about there experiences in and around Orkney in my book, In the Valley of Hope: Faith Conquers Fear.

But what made Orkney memorable was what happened there in October 1970.

It had rained that day, and it was miserably cold. When you’re young and in love, who cares.

In my mind’s eye, I can still see the trail and the multi-colored leaves along our path. The weather added to the ambiance by adding a gray tint to the landscape.

We walked hand in hand, both of us trying to summon the nerve to express our feelings. Much to my surprise (and relief), Janet said it first.

“I love you,” she said.

Three incredibly powerful words that changed my life.

That was 46 years ago. So her painting is the best Valentine’s gift ever. It depicts a time, place, and event that remains indelibly etched upon my heart. Arguably, the best day of my life.

What can I do to reciprocate?  I’ve got 10 days to figure it out.

My last novel, Hope of Cherry Blossom Lane, was dedicated to her. But that was January.

One thing for certain, I won’t attempt a painting. The good Lord didn’t bless me with that talent. Even my stickmen are unrecognizable.

May you be blessed with such wonderful memories.

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Published inHistorical BackgroundNostalgiaWriting

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