In which we don't celebrate the holiday with the candy hearts here

I've got a longtime complaint against Valentine's Day.

I figure, if the people that I love do not know that I love them, every day, every moment, then I've got problems that a bunch of flowers and candy hearts on the 14th of February is not even going to touch.

I've boycotted VD for years (although Jim, bless his delightful soul, continues to "end run" around me--he sent me flowers on February 13th, so I could be thrilled with the flowers and not cranky about Valentine's Day). 

Instead of Valentine's Day, here at Haiku Farm, we celebrate Story Day.
Story, 1987-2006.  photo by Jillian Zemenak
On February 14th, 1994, I bought my very first, very own horse.  She was a 7-year old nondescript brown-bay standardbred mare with a head like a boot-box and no talent whatsoever on the racetrack.  Her owner had abandoned her at the track, and she was expected to sell to the meat buyer at the end of the week;  I showed up the day before the meat truck, guided by a knowledgeable horse friend.

My friend picked out the mare, telling me that "that one won't leave you broken and bleeding on a mountainside."  The fact that the mare wasn't actually broken to saddle yet (and I had no expertise in that area) didn't worry my friend:  she could see to the heart of the mare, and the heart was solid gold.

A heart of solid gold is a thing worth celebrating.  If you've ever had a horse like that, you know what I mean.  If you've ever had a horse like that, raise up a carrot as a toast with me this evening.

Happy Story Day, everyone.


  1. I like your holiday far better. The golden hearts are always better than candy and chocolate.

    Happy Story Day. ♥

  2. I love that photo. She looks (and sounds) like a wonderful horse. Happy Story Day to you. I think I'll go down and hug my 32 year old Gunner.

  3. The story of Story is beautiful. Happy Story Day!

  4. That is beautiful, Aarene. A wonderful photo that really captures that heart of gold.

    I share your V-Day sentiment and instead raise a glass to your Story Day!

  5. Beautiful girl.
    I shared carrots with the herd tonight.
    Happy Story Day :)

  6. I had a Champ, and I know exactly what you mean :)

    I maintain that V-day is a valid holiday: I can send rude backhanded someecards to my favorite husband, and in return he can shower me with absurdly expensive chocolates. We aren't real firm on actual dates - the chocolates were devoured last week, and it's just luck that I remembered his e-card today. I mean, if we didn't set arbitrary limits on our chocolate-buying-holidays we could easily go bankrupt on truffles. ;)

  7. Happy Story Day!
    Solid gold hearts are rare: she got yours, and you got hers. Story Day, indeed....

  8. Aarene, you posted the story of Story's last day, which is probably one of the most moving things I've read on the internet. Would you consider linking to it or at least making it easier to find on your blog?

    Our dog's getting up there (14, but thankfully still healthy), and I'd love to have Story's story on hand to refer to when it's time to do the right thing. Thanks!

  9. Cat and all: The story of Story's final days is posted here:

    This post has been published and reprinted several times elsewhere. I encourage sharing, but please credit the photographers even if you can't remember my name. If you want to put this in a newsletter someplace, drop me a line.

    I'll try to think of a way to put it on the sidebar at some point, it does get requested periodically.

  10. Totally got me teary eyed with this one.


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