Joe held Julie tightly, and in the clear, strong voice he’d longed for all his life, nodded and said: “I will be your Valentine.”

I Will Be Your Valentine

By —— Bio and Archives--February 9, 2019

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I Will Be Your ValentineJoe was tall, strong, and athletic, and girls in the little Mississippi Delta town of Leland thought he was oh so-o-o-o handsome, but as much as he longed to, he never talked to them. He couldn’t. Around guys he did okay, but around girls, he felt shy, and when he felt shy, he stuttered.

During Joe’s high school senior year, along came a February Saturday afternoon that was perfect for football — a crisp, sunny, windless day more fitting for April, yet a day when one cloud before the sun would make it more fitting for December.

Joe and his teammates challenged their archrivals from nearby Greenville to a sandlot duel, and classmates from both towns gathered to witness the war.


As the teams readied for play, Joe glanced at a gaggle of giggling Greenville girls. One stood out from the rest, the one with her back to him … the one in the daffodil yellow dress.

Suddenly she turned and locked her bright, laughing eyes with his. Deep inside, something told Joe he would never be the same. Her name was Julie.

From that day on, Julie was always on Joe’s mind. How he ached to talk to her. Often he’d go to Greenville, hoping to get a glimpse of her. Sometimes he did, and always she waved and fixed those bright, laughing eyes on him, but mysteriously, she never spoke.

Valentine’s Day was just around the corner, and Joe could no longer hide his feelings from Julie. Somehow he had to show her, and more importantly, had to tell her.

The daffodils were blooming, reminding him of that afternoon when he first saw Julie in the daffodil dress. Then he thought … flowers — that’s the answer! I will pick a bouquet of daffodils, and on Valentine’s Day, go to her house, offer them to her, and without stuttering, ask, “Will you be my Valentine?”

Late into the night, he stood before the mirror, chanting those words over and over until his stuttering speech smoothed out and his self-confidence soared. He was ready.

On Valentine’s Day, Joe gathered the sprightly, spring-smelling flowers, wrapped them in fancy paper, neatly combed his hair, donned his letter jacket, asked God to be with him, and set off to face one of the most daunting challenge of his life.

Just as he knocked on her door, he began trembling in fear. But before he could rush away, the door opened on a yellow explosion — Julie in the daffodil dress!

Struggling with all his might, he stuttered, “W-will y-you b-be…? His head drooped and his eyes moistened. He failed.

Suddenly, Julie grabbed the flowers and threw her arms around Joe. Then the mystery of why she never spoke was revealed. Locking her eyes with his as she’d done that first day, and struggling with her stuttering problem, said, “W-will y-you b-be…?”

Joe held Julie tightly, and in the clear, strong voice he’d longed for all his life, nodded and said: “I will be your Valentine.”



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Jimmy Reed -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Jimmy Reed is an Oxford, Mississippi resident, Ole Miss alumnus, Army veteran (Vietnam Era), former Mississippi Delta cotton farmer and ginner, author, and retired college teacher. His short story anthology, Boss, Jaybird And Me, is available at Squarebooks.com (telephone: 662-236-2262). His latest collection of faith-based short stories, entitled One Hundred By Five Hundred, is also available at Square Books (telephone: 662-236-2262) and at amazon.com. To receive Reed’s free weekly newsletter, send an email address to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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