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March 3
1882 - George Campton's Newhall general store explodes [story]
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Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Friday, Feb 13, 2015

darrylmanzer0215Friday the 13th. I’m not superstitious, but each and every one of you non-single guys out there had better prepare for tomorrow, Valentine’s Day. If you don’t prepare or haven’t prepared, just know you’re in a heap of trouble.

By non-single, I mean any guy who has a girlfriend, wife, close female friend or lady friend who might want to be your Valentine. For the rest of us, a few flowers could put us in the “non-single” category. Be careful. Be very, very careful.

I don’t know if it is even allowed in the politically correct atmosphere of the elementary schools of today, but back in the day, all of us kids would rush out to the store and get our Valentine’s cards to give to all of our classmates. At Castaic Elementary School, we took some masking tape and attached a small paper bag to our desk where classmates could deposit their “Valentines” to each other.

In third grade at that school, my teacher was Mrs. Krenke. She made sure every student had an equal number of cards. She did this while we were out on the playground. I didn’t learn this fact for many years. I suspect she had to add some cards, lots of cards, to my little paper bag.

We didn’t get to look at the cards until we took them home. My first heartbreak was the year I didn’t get a card from a classmate named Linda. I nearly cried until I realized she hadn’t been in class that day. Sure enough, the next school day, she handed out a Valentine’s Day card to each of us.

I still can’t believe we didn’t look at those cards until we got all the way home. The wrath of Mrs. Krenke could be felt maybe 20 miles from school. We dared not look at the cards.

vday2014So did you at least get her a card? Did you at least support the florist of your choice and get her some flowers? Did you fall into that trap? I hope so. I hope you fell and hit hard enough that you’ll remember she is that most special and loving lady in your life. If you didn’t do any of that, I hope you like the couch or the car parked out in the garage. I hope the warm weather continues while you’re stuck there.

I don’t know how many times I was at sea when Valentine’s Day came around and I hadn’t planned ahead. Of course, it isn’t easy to get a card when you spend December and January in a submarine at sea. I don’t know how many times she wanted to have that special dinner, some flowers and a card and I wasn’t home to get them. There were 36 years of not always being able to celebrate such days.

I can’t get her flowers or dinner or a card now. I know she’ll be watching me admonish all of those non-single men out there to make sure they do just that. You see, this is the first Valentine’s Day since she died, so I believe she is watching over us all. Like Mrs. Krenke, she can make sure each of you follows directions. Her watchful eyes cover a whole lot more than a 20-mile radius.

Nobody knows when you’ll give that last Valentine’s Day card or flowers to the woman you love. Don’t mess this up, guys.

Now, Simon and Shannon Mee, I’m sure, will have some fine meals ready for all of those loving couples who visit their establishments. Folks up in Acton might want to partake of the great food at Vincent Hill Station.

You know her favorite place. Take her there.

You might also have to sit through a “chick flick.” Do it. You don’t have a choice. This is a celebration of love. Show her your love.

If you do all of this, you will prove the age-old truth. I’m passing that truth on today. Here it is:

“A man will do anything if a woman convinces him it is foreplay.”

Women learned this long before us men. We have no defense from it. It is just how we roll.

Now smell the pretty flowers and turn on the Hallmark Channel. Your reward isn’t far away. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow … but soon. Just as soon as she decides.

We truly single guys can spend the day watching any old movie we like. Might I recommend “Sands of Iwo Jima” with John Wayne or a similar man-flick. When dinner comes, we can enjoy a good, old-fashioned fast-food meal from just about anyplace.

Then we’ll do what we always do. We’ll go looking for that someone special so we can celebrate the next Valentine’s Day all proper-like.

Hope to see you then.


Darryl Manzer grew up in the Pico Canyon oil town of Mentryville in the 1960s and attended Hart High School. After a career in the U.S. Navy he returned to live in the Santa Clarita Valley, where he serves as executive director of the SCV Historical Society. He can be reached at dmanzer@scvhistory.com. His older commentaries are archived at DManzer.com; his newer commentaries can be accessed [here]. Watch his walking tour of Mentryville [here].

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1 Comment

  1. Emily Ball says:

    Beautiful, Darryl.

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