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Valentine’s Day: not a good time for writer’s block

Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Sandie Smith searches for the perfect card Monday at Safeway.
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Writers unite. Love notes are as integral a part of Valentine’s Day as flowers, dinner or a weekend getaway.

A lover’s passage may not be the only thing on the to-do list for today. But without it, the day could be shot – according to greeting card shoppers and floral shop employees busy preparing for Cupid’s holiday.

Humor and sweetness go a long way.



“And if you just sign it, it’s the kiss of death,” Dave Rusch said. The South Lake Tahoe man was looking for a “simple and sweet” greeting card Monday in Safeway for his girlfriend of two months.

More than $7.5 billion is spent on cards annually, the American Greeting Card Association reported. Valentine’s Day is one of the top holidays that bring people out of their shells.




And there are plenty of choices on the shelves. Gone are the standard “husband, wife, mother” variety. Now one can buy a card for a “baby’s first” Valentine’s Day, a “new relationship” and a husband “simply stated.”

Those are the types Sandie Smith leans toward, along with humor. She’s been married for 32 years and has “never missed a year” to celebrate her love for her husband.

“It’s so commercialized, but at the same time, it gives you the opportunity to restate how much you care,” said the Stockton woman, who owns a second home here.

Smith buys for her husband and her father, who’s a widower.

Today, the school teacher will put her third-graders to work on a class Valentine’s Day card. She’s rewarding the most creative idea.

Camille French tested her creativity, hunting for a card for her husband of two years. He gets mushy, she said.

“I think he thinks I like them. I cried a few times,” the South Shore woman said.

For him, she likes to buy him funny cards – like the one she picked out Monday.

“I need your smile. I need your arms. I need your strength. I need your charms. I need your money. Well I can’t live on love alone, honey,” it reads.

But she usually writes something serious inside the card.

“I tell him I appreciate how he’s a good daddy and a good husband,” she said.

The staff of Thran’s Flower Shop has heard it all in the love notes that come with ordered floral arrangements. The South Lake Tahoe florist was buried in about 200 orders Monday, preparing for the big day.

“Now and forever, I would do it again,” read one note.

“Thirty-four years ago, you got me roses from a man I wanted to spend my life with. Thank you for making my life so wonderful,” read another.

Some are more realistic.

“I know it’s been a rocky road. But I wouldn’t give it up for anything,” said another.

The floral workers often get an education about human nature.

“Sometimes I know too much,” Carla Hernandez said.

The shop owner, Barbara Thran-Anderson, enjoys watching people lives progress around her.

“We become integral to our lives,” she said.


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