Yeah, yeah, I know, it’s better to give than receive. And Valentine’s Day—what a commercial Hallmark holiday. No computer-generated card can pull the heartstrings like a handmade card.

But, and this is a big BUT, it made my 2/14/12 to receive an e-photo of a pristine, unfurling rose.
The sender is a former Eagle Point Road neighbor—actually, I’m the former, he still lives there. You may even know him. Allen Haring is no stranger to Fleur-de-Lys newsletters. Before anyone gets any crazy romantic ideas, Al is happily married and I am one of several who receive his photographs via email at various holidays throughout the year.
Al is the Man-In-Charge of the Kutztown Fair. He recruited me to champion the Scarecrow and Crazy Vegetable contests each August.  He and his wife often parked his pickup at the farm, unloaded their bikes from the back, and went for bike rides down Hottenstein Road rather than risk the dangers of riding on Eagle Point. Al was featured in a newsletter one Thanksgiving when an ink sketch by his late son, Kutztown-raised artist Keith Haring, was made into a huge balloon and featured in the Macy’s Day Parade.
When Richard was Brazil-bound and needed “local” pins to take with him to trade with students in the Rotary exchange tradition, Al connected us with the Keith Haring Foundation, established in 1989 to assist with AIDS-related and children’s charities. (Keith was diagnosed with AIDS in 1988 and died two years later.) We bought a sack-full of playful, colorful KH characters on button pins that “went global” in Brazil.
So, last week I was out on the “Left Coast” at the San Francisco Writers Conference hearing about setting writing goals (500 words a day – I’m up to 305 right now) and lots of other things I’ll be sharing with you in the coming days/weeks. The conference coincided with President Obama’s fund-raising trip. The conference was at the Mark Hopkins Hotel, Pres. O was speaking at the Nob Hill Masonic Hall … and our car was parked in a garage between the two. Trig-the-Brownie-Points-Lady didn’t let a battalion of motorcycle cops and (we found out later) rooftop snipers stop her.
“I’m an 83-year-old grandmother and I need my beddy-bye,” she told an officer trying to block the sidewalk, as she pulled me and two other conference attendees into the parking garage to her waiting red Mercedes.
Forty minutes later, we had crossed the Golden Gate and were relaxing in her home on a hillside above Tiburon. Trig is the consummate storyteller and mentioned that two days earlier (Valentine’s Day) she had tied a red balloon to each of her neighbors’ mailboxes. We continued to chat and then she offered me the March issue of Architectural Digest for bedtime reading.
The Princes of Serendip must be alive and well in Marin County.
On the cover of the magazine was Brooke Shields standing in front of her Greenwich Village fireplace. Above the mantle, a heart-shaped painting I’ve never seen before but recognized immediately. I opened the magazine to the article, and there was even a photograph of the wrapping paper that Keith Haring decorated to present his “heart” to Brooke for her 21st birthday!
This magazine heart wasn’t left in San Francisco. I placed it in an envelope and it is headed to Eagle Point Road with a Fleur-de-Lys note—a little late for Valentine’s Day, but still, a joy to give. Laurie Lynch
Written on Slate: “San Francisco itself is art, above all literary art. Every block is a short story, every hill a novel. Every home a poem, every dweller within immortal. That is the whole truth. – William Saroyan
Speaking of Written on Slate: Paula emailed the other day asking how I painted my quote slates. She has an e.e. cummings slate from the shop in her front yard in Philadelphia where she is a member of a community garden. Another member has a pile of slate, and they thought they could make signs for the garden. I told her I bought “paint pens” from the Art Store on West Main Street in Kutztown, down the hill from Uptown Espresso Bar. I wash and dry each slate prior to painting, write the quote, and then seal it with spray shellac.

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