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Pie Are Round, Valentines are Circles
On an old television show, “Hee Haw,” the teacher attempts to teach the formula for figuring the area of a circle, “Pi R square.” In the show, a country bumpkin challenges the teacher’s wisdom, “Ma’am, everybody knows pie are round! Cornbread are square!” I thought of that joke when I was remembering a sweet story my mom shared about one of her long remembered Valentine’s day.
In mom’s era, valentines were created at home, rather than purchased from the store. My Aunt Gertrude was six years older than my mother. She was also artistically creative. Mom recalls being awed by the lovely valentines created by her older sister. How mom longed to create valentines like those, but her six-year-old attempts proved quite disappointing. Her Pa, found his crumpled little girl in tears at the kitchen table, and that is where the story gets interesting. But, first you need some background on my Grandpa Oesterle.
In appearance my Grandpa Oesterle strongly resembled the wiry little grandfather in Norman Rockwell prints. Grandpa was slight built, but quite agile and strong. Grandpa believed in hard work, frugality and being sensible. He was a serious man who served on the school board and other local organizations. Most of my memories of Grandpa Oesterle were of a hard-working farmer. But, I also remember him singing, Polly Wolly Doodle, and playing the harmonica as we, grandchildren, sat, mesmerized, around the table. Grandpa had an appreciation for education, though he himself did not have many years of schooling. Grandpa challenged us to spell Constantinople. Why Constantinople? I don’t know. But, he liked to make us think. Grandpa was serious about children behaving, and, truth be told, most of us grandchildren were just a bit frightened at the thought of his disapproval. Ours was a grandfather who saw his job as more about keeping us in line than keeping us entertained.
With that vision in mind, let’s move back to that six-year-old, heart-broken girl surrounded by sordid scraps of paper, none resembling hearts, her own heart breaking. When, into this dismal scene enters her pa. Mom tells how she and her pa sat at the table for what, to her, seemed hours, designing valentines. Tracing around the bottom of a small lard bucket, pa and his little daughter cut out circles for valentines. The tears dried and the valentines were delivered. My mother told that story often, with laughter at making valentines from circles, but also with great love for her pa. So, we learn that sometimes Pi are square, and that sometimes love is in the shape of a circle.
-Contributed by Carolyn Primm