Love to You from Valentine, Texas

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Jim Hightower's Radio Lowdown
Jim Hightower's Radio Lowdown
Love to You from Valentine, Texas

Please be my Valentine!

That is not only a warm, sweet, sometimes romantic sentiment people express in mid-February on a frilly, red card. It’s also the name of a third-century saint who literally lost his head, a ninth-century pope whose reign lasted only 40 days, three Roman emperors, a very good Mexican hot sauce… and a tiny town in Texas.

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That town has a genuinely sweet story to tell and a unique role to play in the sending of thousands of Valentine’s Day sentiments to people around the world. Valentine, Texas, population 217, was founded by the Southern Pacific Railroad in the 1880s and reportedly was named for one of the corporation’s big shareholders. Nothing romantic about that.

But in recent years, would-be cupids have turned the town’s name and – believe it or not – its one-room post office into a center of affectionate expression. What happened is that romantics from distant places began to batch-up their pre-addressed, stamped Valentines and zip them to this postal outpost way out on the Texas-Mexico border. Why? Because, to give their sentimental missives extra oomph, they wanted them to bear the special touch of being mailed from an actual place named Valentine.

The greatest thing about our public postal workers is that they literally deliver, and the Valentine branch goes the extra mile to provide this loving gesture – at no extra charge. Ismelda Ornelas, Postmaster of the 79854 office, handstamps each envelope herself. Indeed, the Valentine post office is now officially designated the “Love Station.” Moreover, the local school district holds an annual art contest among students to design each year’s Valentine postmark, which is then stamped on each envelope.

See, while the media tells us our world is going to hell, here’s another grassroots example of loving, creative people going the other way. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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