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Never assume what’s gotta be true

My second-cousin Emily — the one who lives out on the Old Hutchinson Mill Road and lays to an ill-advised claim to have raised me — always wants to know how things went for “her boy” on Valentine’s Day. Sometimes — I’m not sure why — she even sends me some reminders that “Valentine’s Day is coming, Valentine’s Day is coming,” as if I’m Mr. Paul Revere himself.

For your information, dear cousin, I know when Valentine’s Day is coming, and — despite the ugly rumors that may swirl around me around that time — we handle ourselves just fine, generally, or occasionally. Even Custer said the very same thing about his army, and we all know that he was a good, brave soldier.

Okay, maybe it didn’t turn out so well for the general, but that was a long time ago.

A few days after Valentine’s, the amazin’ blonde told me that Emily wrote and asked her how her “boy” treated her.

“Uh, you’d better ask him,” the sweet one said sheepishly.

I must say that disappointed me a tad at first, before I realized that she wanted me to be the one to relay the good news to my favorite second cousin. And today we will do just that, right here in the paper for the world to see.

I should point out that you all know by now that I am the distinguished romance leader for a good many men in the South. And, being their leader and spokesman, it is a bit silly to question our own romantic aptitude. But we’ll oblige anyway, in hopes that our story will restore your faith in some other Southern fella out there.

So, here’s the story right from the horse’s mouth — and, no, we’re not talking about General Custer’s horse here. Please drop the metaphor.

The night before this past Valentines, the amazin’ blonde handed me a little box of candy and said, “Happy Valentines Day!”

Did I panic at the thought? Did that put pressure on me? No sir and no ma’am. When you put your hay in the barn, you don’t have to worry when the storm comes.

You understand.

The reason we didn’t panic was that we had a plan. Did I have chocolate on the spot to hand to the sweet lady? I’d rather not divulge that information here, but, please, don’t judge.

The next day — the actual Valentine’s Day — the amazin’ blonde and I were driving to Oklahoma, and we stopped at Cracker Barrel for lunch. I dropped her off at the door as any gentleman would do and had her go on in to get a table.

I came into the restaurant and — soon thereafter — found the sweet one at the table. To her surprise, I busted out a big box of chocolates from behind my back. My, you should’ve seen the shock on her face!

She jumped up, hugged me, thanked me for being so wonderful and so on, and, generally, made quite the scene for all those around us.

Then, suddenly, she turned her new box of chocolates over and saw a tag on the back:

“Hm,” she said, “says here you bought this at Cracker Barrel.”

I shook my head, with extreme and utter disappointment, at the thought. I guess she deduced that I dropped her off, went into the store and bought her that box of candy, asked the young hostess if she would please take this Cracker Barrel sack for me and throw it away (to which she smiled and shook her head), then emerged at the amazin; blonde’s table as if I were the superhero of romance, or something?

Who could believe such a tale? I have to say, I’m a little ashamed of you for even thinking it. Maybe you all need to lay down the paper and pick up the good book. You look it up and see if you don’t find the quote from the wise man that goes something like:

Never assume anything bad about your fellowman, even if you know it’s gotta be true.