Valentine’s Day always brings back memories of my first wedding.

It happened in the Second Grade.

Her name was Darlene, but I called her Darling … which is what I really thought her name was because in West Texas, Darlene sounded like Darling. If you don’t follow what I’m saying, You must not be a Redneck.

Anyway, we decided to get married on Valentime’s Day. That’s right, Valen-time. Again, if you don’t understand, You must not be a Redneck.

Okay, now that we have our language lesson out of the way, let me get to the “heart” of the story. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist that one.)

We had plotted this event for a long time … maybe two or three days.

Valentime’s came, and the night before I was as excited as if it were Christmas Eve.

I rushed through my bowl of cereal, grabbed my books and lunch box and started out the door, and before Mom could remind me, I turned around and rushed back to brush my teeth. It seemed like something you should do before you get married.

Mom did remark, My you seem anxious to get to school today.
I replied, Yes Mam. But I didn’t say anything else. I briefly considered telling her about the importance of this day, but decided to wait until I came home from school with her handmade Valentime’s Day card.

All through the first part of the day, Darlene and I would glance at each other; she would giggle, and I would blush.

Finally, after what seemed forever, we had lunch and then recess.

I was so nervous that I couldn’t eat; I kept checking my pocket for the ring. It was a band from one of my Dad’s cigars. It had gold on it and even a diamond shape image on the main part. It was perfect, and I couldn’t wait to give it to Darlene.

As we headed out for recess, I grabbed my best friend and finally blurted out our secret: Darlene and I are getting married.

He laughed, but then realized that I was serious and he quickly agreed to be my Best Man at the wedding.

We went to the designated wedding spot; it was behind the yard equipment shed at the far corner of the playground.

Of course, Darlene was not there.
But I had been to a couple of weddings, and I knew the bride always came late.

So, my Best Man and me sat down and played marbles.
We heard the giggling before we saw Darlene and three of her girlfriends.
We sacked our marbles, and I dusted off my hands.

Again, relying on my past experience at weddings, I knew that I should say something called “bows”.

“Darling, I love you more than my dog, Brownie, and Twinkies.”
She said, I love you more than ice cream.
I pulled the ring from my pocket. “Will you marry me?”
She whispered, Yes.

I fumbled to get the cigar band on her finger which took a couple of tries because I was afraid of tearing the ring, and I started by putting it on her index finger until she told me that was wrong.

Her friends were giggling constantly and then together saying, Kiss. Kiss. Kiss.
I hadn’t thought of that, but it seemed like a great idea.
We leaned toward each other until only our lips touched.
I have to admit it … a kiss didn’t seem that special. It was like pressing my lips against a hamburger bun … but it sealed our marriage.

Then, Darlene and her girlfriends ran off shouting to other girls at the swings.
My Best Man and I headed back to join the guys playing kick ball.

So, it was done.
I was married.
It felt strange. I still hadn’t decided what to make of it so later that day when I gave my Mother her Valentime’s Day card … I didn’t tell her.

Later that evening, the phone rang.
Mom answered it, and I could her talking and laughing.
She came into my room, smiled as she asked, Did you have a good Valentine’s?
I nodded and quickly added, Yes Mam.
You have anything you want to tell me about today?
No Mam.
No Mam.
Well, sleep tight and don’t let the bedbugs bite, and have sweet dreams.
She left the room, and I fell onto the bed. She knew; she knew something, but I wasn’t going to admit to anything.

The next day at school, just before the first bell sounded, Darlene came to me.
She frowned a bit as she handed me her ring. “My Daddy says I can’t be married right now.”
Then, she turned and ran off to be with her friends.

I looked at the wedding ring and didn’t feel sad … in fact, I felt a bit relieved.
It was probably best to end this marriage.

Besides, there was another girl in my class that always wore multi-colored petticoats, and I thought she was really pretty.
But that’s another story.

Oh, and one other thing; the more I thought about it … I didn’t really love Darling more than I loved my dog, Brownie.