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Two Valentine Surprises and Two Good Hearts

February 10, 2021

Two Valentine Surprises and Two Good Hearts

By Alice Jane-Marie Massa

                At my age on this WORDWALK, one does not expect a Valentine surprise; however, since my prior posting on WORDWALK, I received two such surprises. 

                My Florida (formerly Hoosier) cousin Carole told me in advance to be on the alert for an envelope with three seals on the back.  The United States Postal Service did deliver this envelope in good time and in especially good shape.  When I opened the envelope, much to my most pleasant surprise, I found that someone had brailled the card’s greeting and a message with the names of the senders–Carole and her husband, Tim.  I wondered if she had found someone around her retirement community to braille the card.  No!  During a happy telephone conversation, I learned that my cousin (who always manages to be five months younger than I) brailled the card!  Yes, at age … well, seventy … she learned grade-one braille for her older cousin!  Of course, Carole did not go about this process lightly:  she ordered via the internet the Book LEARN BRAILLE:  UNCONTRACTED (GRADE ONE) AND CONTRACTED (GRADE TWO), by RJ Clarke, copyright 2016.  This print book is for sighted people who wish to learn braille.  Additionally, Carole utilized a series of eight videos that assist in teaching braille, both uncontracted and contracted, to sighted individuals.  Finally, this special relative of mine purchased online a braille slate and stylus (instruments for writing braille) to be able to braille onto the commercial Valentine card.  What a tremendous effort!  Of course, the brailled card is displayed prominently in my townhouse.  Although both she and I are trying to downsize, I told Carole that I will have to save this very special card.  Six lines of beautiful braille dots pressed firmly into the thick cardstock paper–and pressed forever into my heart.

                The link to the first of the videos about learning braille is:

The above link is for uncontracted, grade-one braille and is only a few minutes in duration.

                Two days later, I received in the mail another envelope, delivered in fine fashion by the USPS.  Another pleasant surprise of a commercial braille Valentine card!  This card is from my sister and brother-in-law, but it has a somewhat unusual story behind it.  Mary Elizabeth related to me over the phone from Colorado that when she was in Target looking at the display of Valentine cards for her five fabulous grandchildren, a card with velveteen hearts and smiling faces on the front panel grabbed her attention; the card was right beside a flag that noted “For Kids.”  Nevertheless, as soon as she picked up the American Greetings card, she knew that it was a braille card–most likely overlooked by the employee who had set up the card display because it was not really a card for young children.  Kismet?  Well, Mary purchased the card for me; and I now have it displayed midst my holiday decorations in my townhouse.

                Next, this morning, I called a friend who is several years older than I.  After we had chatted for a while, she told me that she did go outside on Sunday–our absolutely coldest day of this Polar Vortex period.  Although my friend is a native Wisconsinite and never really complains about the cold temperatures nor snow, she did admit that standing and waiting for a bus was a bitterly cold experience.  No, this senior citizen was not planning a bus ride to a destination:  the bus stop was her destination.  When the bus finally arrived, my friend gave the bus driver a large Wisconsin bag filled with twelve newly hand-knitted hats and scarves for the bus driver to give to those bus riders who needed the warm apparel.  Then, my friend told the very appreciative bus driver that she could keep the tote bag.  Through the years that I have known this neighbor, I have learned how much volunteer work she does for a nonprofit organization; however, giving away the hats and gloves on a winter’s day when the morning temperature was negative eight with a wind chill of minus twenty-seven affirms in my mind that she does indeed have a “good heart.” 

                Finally, I must also mention the “good heart” of my beautiful, gentle, sweet, and highly intelligent Leader Dog Willow who blesses my life each day and makes my life so much easier and enjoyable.  On one of our warmest days (twelve degrees) of this prolonged cold snap, Willow happily wagged her tail when I told her we were going to Metro Market.  (The only day we have missed going for a walk was, ironically, on this past Sunday.)  Of course, our recent walks have been shorter than usual; but we are glad to avoid cabin fever with our short jaunts outdoors.  Besides Willow’s harness and leash, I put her coat and four boots on her.  Those little boots of hers always bring forth smiling comments from people whom we meet on the sidewalk or at our destinations.  In sync with Mother Nature, my British Black Labrador has grown an especially thick coat of gorgeous hair this winter. 

Once again, Willow guided me very safely and professionally to, around, and from the supermarket.  At the store today, the young employee who was helping us to do our shopping remarked what a “sweet dog” Willow is.  Yes, thanks to her parental dogs Holly and Sergeant, as well as Willow’s puppy-raisers and trainers at Leader Dog School, I do have a sweet guide dog with a good heart. 

                I am giving a WORDWALK “halo” of thanks to each of the four “good hearts” mentioned in this blog post!

Happy Valentine’s Weekend to all of my WORDWALK readers!

Alice and Leader Dog Willow

February 10, 2021, Wednesday


From → Uncategorized

  1. joanmyles permalink

    Fabulous, so full of love and thoughtfulness, thank you, dear Alice!

    • Good morning, Joan–How nice to have a comment again from you on WORDWALK!  Also, thanks for the “like” on this post.

      With appreciation and best wishes for a Happy Valentine’s Birthday to the author of ONE GLITTERING WING,

      Alice and Willow

  2. Carole permalink

    Thank you, Alice, for including me in your Valentine post today! It was quite a surprise to me that it was possible to create such a braille greeting from the two resources. I have always had great admiration for you and those who amazingly read and write the code with such expertise; so thanks to your inspiration, Alice, this seventy-year-old met the challenge on the bucket list. It does take time and focus; but eventually, I look forward to one day communicating with you in also using the contracted version.

    I invite our sighted family and friends to use the resources above in also sending heartfelt braille messages to you in the coming months! Of the “good hearts” you referenced, you are at the top of the list, who wear a “halo,” for all of the good deeds you have done and continue to do for others!

    Happy Valentine’s Day with love to you and Willow!

    • Good Thursday morning!  Carole–Thanks so very much for your especially nice note on this blog post!  I am extremely happy that braille dots were filling part of your bucket-list bucket!

      Talk with you soon or tonight!

      Best always–Alice and Willow

  3. mfanyo permalink

    What a nice Valentine surprise for me that you shared in your blog the commercial Braille card that I sent to you and Willow! Your comments of appreciation warmed my heart.
    Sending you and Willow my love and best wishes for a very Happy Valentine’s Day,

  4. Susan M McKendry permalink

    Alice–This was such an enjoyable post to read! I wish you and Willow the happiest of all Valentine Days! I thought it was very nice how you combined the thoughtfulness of the braille cards with the two good hearts. Warm thoughts to you and Willow.

    • Sue–I hope that you and John enjoy a very Happy Valentine’s Weekend.  Thanks for your comment on this post.

      Take care–Alice and Willow

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