Loveland, my new hometown, has a wonderful tradition of resending valentines with a special valentine cancellation stamp. For 67 years, people from all over the country have sent their cards here so they could be resent from the “Sweetheart City.” As many as 160,000 valentines go through a special post office set up each February just for this service. This year it’s a conference room at the Chamber of Commerce where 20+ volunteers look at each envelop, stamp it with a valentine verse, stamp it with the current year’s cancellation mark, and sort it by zip code to take to the regular PO. They read every address in order to pull out any incomplete or foreign addresses. These go to Betty who fixes where she can and keeps track of the many countries. (So far this year, the count is 50 countries.)
It was like walking into Santa’s workshop and seeing all the elves fast at work. It had that feel to it, even all the red and white, but this was St. Valentine’s workshop so imagine hearts everywhere. Maybe, and probably, many of the gray-haired elves were widows or widowers which touched me all the more as I watched them lovingly stamp each card, marveling at the names and destinations. Thinking I would spend a few minutes, I stayed at least an hour asking questions, listening, wondering with them, and being touched by them.
Such a simple gesture. Hallmark got it right. Sometimes a card is more than a card.