Articles by Jim Gainan

As published in the Billings Gazette

Growing up: Celebrate Valentine's Day with those you love

Some love it. Some feel differently. Either way tomorrow is showtime.

My earliest memories of Valentine's day involve carefully selecting the perfect $1.99 box of valentines with just enough for everyone in my class, which was a requirement to participate. Before we could sit down to our feast of cupcakes, Hawaiian punch -- from a can, and other confections we had to deliver our mail.

Actual words on paper, these little two inch cards taught me so much about the power and importance of words and the feelings they convey. You see, in first grade, there really isn't a pecking order; the world has yet to impose its restrictions on who we can be friends with or who will return that friendship. It seems from those simple early days we spend about 20 years moving away from that ideal place where we have a valentine for everyone and a cupcake to boot, only to find that the road bends back toward the beginning until some time in our forties. We realize that we can live in that 'ideal' place again if we allow ourselves to do it.

February 14th is a day to recognize those around us who we love. It is a proven fact that people react positively to receiving flowers.

The combination of the flowers themselves and the thoughtfulness put into their selection is an irresistible combination. Studies have shown improvement in mood, overall sense of well-being and increased communication through the delivery of flowers. However, over the last 20 years working in this business, I can personally attest to the fact that there is great joy in being the sender of the flowers.

Many women would be shocked to see how much time and attention men put into selecting the perfect arrangement. They don't walk in the door knowing specifically what they want but, they definitely know it when they see it. When it happens and they know that they have something

selected that is going to make their Valentines' day, it makes it all the complications of the day seem trivial because we've accomplished what we set out to do -- "turn feelings into flowers".

Today as we prepare for our 60th Valentine's day, I look forward to all that tomorrow will be and remember all of the Valentine's days gone by and the rich lessons they provide. Oh, I also hope to find a cupcake or two!