A Valentine Vignette…

Linda Delaney



The Officer opened the old cedar chest in the attic, and began to carefully take out its contents. He was searching for a cherished heirloom, and thought it might be in this chest. As he carefully lifted the few envelopes out of it, a faded red construction paper heart fell from between them. He picked it up and turned it over. The paper lace had long since fallen off. The crayon still bold against the fading red paper, covered with bits of glitter and paint… he smiled as he remembered the day it had been made…



A small voice called out sharply, "Poppa!!! Poppa!! Come quick!!!!"

The stocky auburn haired man chugged down the hallway to the door of his son’s room, and throwing it open, cried out in alarm, "Sean! What’s wrong?"

Five year old Sean Pearce Nelson looked at his out of breath and alarmed parent.

"Poppa…. I can’t make it right!! And I want to give this to Momma…. I’m her Valentine she said, and I can’t make this right!!! Poppa, Help Me!!!"

Harriman Nelson looked around his son’s room… red construction paper, white paper doilies, glitter, ribbon, glue and the like were strewn about. Sean had glue on his hands, face and clothes, and attached to it were a variety of things that would go into a valentine. Nelson gazed at the little boy, whose red curls ran riot at times like this, and smiled fondly.

"Come here, Sean." He knelt on one knee, and extended his arms to his son, who dropped his scissors, and paper, and ran to his father.

"Poppa, I want this to be special for Momma." A tear slid from the blue eyes, so like his father’s. "Can you help me, Poppa?"

"Well, Sean, I can try… let’s see what we can do…"



A few hours later, Karen Davis Nelson came home from her office at the N.I.M.R. She was tired, and hot., and all she wanted was to kick off her shoes, and relax. Dinner was going to have to wait for a while.

She opened the door to the foyer of the Nelson house on Officer’s Row, and dropped her briefcase and her coat on the Queen Anne chair. She looked around, realizing the house was unusually quiet. "Harry? Sean?" she called. At first, she heard nothing, then a child’s giggle. She called again, now realizing that her husband and son were plotting something. Sean only giggled in that way when Harriman and he were up to one of Nelson’s plots. Cautiously she moved to the Great Room. Hanging in the middle of the room was a sign, in large, childlike letters that read…

Follow this sign to your surprise.

Now grinning, she followed the arrow and went into the Dining Room. The table was set in their finest China, the crystal and silver glowing in the candlelight. There were three places set, and at the one at the head of the table, red balloons, flowers and a large box sat. Sean came around the door from the kitchen, carefully carrying a tray with three fluted glasses. Walking slowly, he came towards his mother. Sean was dressed in his suit and tie, his red curls carefully combed and held in place. His face was a study of concentration, he was determined to make the short walk to his mother without spilling any of the bubbling liquid in the glasses. Harriman Nelson stood behind his son, resplendent in his dress blues. He gazed at his wife, his blue eyes full of love and continued wonder at the gift of this amazing son that she had given him. "His idea." He told her softly.

Karen stood still until Sean reached her side. He offered the tray to her… "Here, Momma. Poppa said that you like sparkling cider. So do I!" He said proudly.

Karen took the glass he offered, and the two men in her life took theirs and then Sean spoke. "Now you have to sit in you r special seat, Momma." And putting his glass on the table, he took her free hand and led her to the chair at the head of the table.

"Here, Momma…sit here, and then open your present."

Karen sat down and carefully removed the paper from the box. She removed the lid, and found a layer of tissue paper, and she carefully moved it away. Inside was a large red heart, covered with white paper lace, ribbon and glitter. She lifted it from the box, and saw the carefully printed lettering…

To Momma,
Happy Valentine’s Day.
I love you
Sean Pearce Nelson


In smaller print, in dark bold script,

And I love you too, Captain Davis!!

Karen looked at the men in her life, and hugged them both as she smiled and cried…



Captain Sean Nelson put the Valentine safely away in the envelopes, and closed the chest, remembering the day and the dinner, and smiled to himself. He was a lucky man. He had been blessed with wonderful parents. And that Valentine’s Day was the first of many that the three of them had spent celebrating the bond of love that the three of them shared…





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