Valentine box-making ineptitude doesn't dull with time
THOMPSON, N.D. -- My aim Friday was to answer this question: Am I more artistic than a second-grader? The answer, sadly and predictably, was: No. I looked for the answer at Thompson Elementary School. Friday was the day for students to exchange v...
THOMPSON, N.D. -- My aim Friday was to answer this question: Am I more artistic than a second-grader?
The answer, sadly and predictably, was: No.
I looked for the answer at Thompson Elementary School. Friday was the day for students to exchange valentines. This required, of course, making valentine boxes as receptacles for the valentines and, in some cases, an accompanying treat.
Decorating valentine boxes was among the more traumatic chores of my youth because I really, really stunk at it. Artistically challenged, my cutout hearts looked more like lungs. I couldn't handle lace with my 10-thumbed hands. Elmer's Glue oozed from every pore of the decorations -- and, for that matter, every pore of my skin.
Valentine's Day was just another disheartening reminder that my art skills never advanced beyond stickmen.
So, I visited the second-grade classes of Mrs. Gensrich and Mrs. Larson to see what 7- and 8-year-olds can do these days. I was humbled yet again, although it's long been known that all Thompson schoolchildren are above average.
When Garrett came through the door with a valentine box that was a cardboard Army tank, his classmates shouted "cool" and "wow," my exact sentiments. My other thought was that his parents must have gone without sleep for a week.
It was nothing, Garrett's dad said. A box was covered in camouflage wrapping paper, with duct tape for the tracks and paper towel tubes for the wheels.
"Yes, I helped a little bit," dad said. "They want it to be great, so you have to help them along, give them a little push in the right direction."
Right direction? G.I. Joe would be envious of Garrett's tank. So would Patton. It belongs in the Valentine Box Hall of Fame.
Clay's box was a monster, with green eyebrows, eyes that may have been borrowed from a doll and jagged teeth in the slot for the valentines. Michael's was decorated with a coloring of Darth Vader. I think we can agree that nothing says Valentine's Day more than Darth Vader.
The girls' valentine boxes had less testosterone, as expected. They were heavy on pink, heavy on hearts, heavy on frills, all done neatly, with nary an Elmer's Glue spill in sight. Courtney's had a nice touch, with a real doorknob on her box's door. "We got a new dresser and we had extra doorknobs," she explained.
Allison's was inspirational, with cutout words "live," "believe," "joy" and "follow your destiny." Sweet stuff. And, straying slightly from its motif, the cutouts included two Clydesdales.
The conclusion I reached was that I didn't want to go back 50 years and relive the humiliation of having a sub-standard Valentine's Day box.
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