This isn’t the story of the famous Valentino, but the Valentino that sits on my nightstand quietly keeping watch as I sleep. Back in 1998 about six months before we were married and broke as all get out we took a vacation. A co-worker had recommended that we stay at this small cute bed and breakfast in New Brunsfels, TX. We had no idea what there was to do there but, (the idea of being somewhere other than thinking about the wedding, how the two of us were going to pay for it, and the family feuds started over the whole damn thing in the first place) it sounded like a good idea. It was only a few hours drive from Ft Hood, so after making a reservation off we went.
My co-worker was right, the place was quiet, had a small town feel and was so girly cute that even the husband was smiling at it all. The town even had a nautical museum so the man wouldn’t get so bored at all the “junk” shops there were. I even enjoyed the museum even though reading about Admiral Nimitz over and over after a while drove me crazy.
New Brunsfels has a large German population. There are several restaurants that serve German cuisine, and we decided to try one. That was my first taste of spätzle which was horrible (the real thing home made in Germany is way better!), as well as having Jäger Schnitzel. We talked about just normal life and attempted to relax. It rained that night and we could hear the rain hitting the tin roof of our room while we snuggled close until we drifted asleep, lulled by the rainfall.
The next day on our way out of New Brunsfels, we wandered through a couple more boutiques. In the middle of this display of bears was this dark red bear. His fur was long, and had large curls in it. His colouring reminded me of the blood red of a red velvet cake. He wore a small red and black checked ribbon around his neck. His head wasn’t sewn on straight and tilted a little to the side. His feet no matter how you placed them, fell to the left. The poor bear was cursed with two left feet. He looked so lonely sitting amongst all these pastel and natural coloured bears, he looked sad.
Unfortunately, he was also expensive. Our money was so tight, we were pretty much paying for the wedding ourselves and didn’t have a whole lot of money to spare. After looking at the price, I placed the bear back into the pile. I was having second thoughts, I wanted this bear, he had to come home with me. I started to negotiate with my hubby how no one would want this bear, that he would go unloved if we didn’t buy him.
Who would want a bear with two left feet and the colour of a red velvet cake? Look even his head is crooked, no one will want him and he will be sent back to the maker never to be loved. How could we leave him there all alone with all those cutesy bears and bunnies when he’s so not cute and fluffy? They might make him ill or he might eat them. Look at him, he’s looking at me with such a sad face, he wants to come home with us. Can’t he please come home with us?
Finally my silly pleading and personification of this doomed bear broke the resistance of my husband. Valentino was coming home with us, I think I even jumped up and down a little and skipped to the register. Gleefully he sat in the bag, his ears barely poking out of the top, riding next to me all the way to his new home. I gave him the name of a famous ladies man to boost his confidence, with his two left feet, his crooked head and all.
Valentino now has a wife in a pretty red dress with white sheer sleeves covered in red velvet hearts and a baby bear who’s an angel. His wings are white with red stitching. Baby bear is the same colouring as Valentino. None of them have gone a day without being loved.
Happy Valentine’s Day!