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Here's to life's "warm fuzzies'

I got my Valentine's Day presents and you're going to be jealous when you find out what they are: three Dave Barry books and two huge, fuzzy, gray slippers with red ears, a red nose and big, black eyes. They look like mice except for the big black eyes, which resemble the creature's eyes in The Fly.

See, I told you that you would be jealous. The slippers already have names _ Mr. and Mrs. Mousekewitz.

Only my husband would know that a $15 pair of slippers that I could name and talk to when something bothers me would make me ecstatic.

Isn't that how love is? It's the small, seemingly insignificant things done with a sincere heart to the right person at the right time that add those warm fuzzies to one's life.

I thought about this recently when my friend Joanne came back from a Bible study luncheon and told me they had gone around the room and asked each woman when she had felt most loved.

Of course I felt compelled to ask my best friend what she had answered, secretly hoping it would have been some thoughtful, sacrificial act I had done for her. Instead she mentioned a time when her then-boyfriend, later husband, had bought her a special gift when she was sick and he was broke. (I'm sure she would have mentioned something I had done, but she knew it would embarrass me.)

I guess that started making me think about when I felt most loved. Of course, I couldn't think of anything, at least at first. Then the memories started flowing.

Like when I was a young girl and my family would go on vacation. We would travel all day, find some generic motel, check in and get ready to go to dinner. The big excitement before we left the room was putting a quarter in the bed and feeling it vibrate.

Off to the generic chain restaurant, where for some reason the food tasted unusually good. Then back to the motel to swim in the pool. My dad always swam with us. He had the uncanny knack of disappearing under the water for what seemed like half an hour. He would reappear suddenly underneath us and grab our feet. We would scream in protest, but hope he would do it again.

Then we would go back to the room, take a warm shower and fall asleep watching television.

The best part was very early the next morning. My dad would pick me up, jammies and all, my head resting on his shoulder, and put me in the car. That really made me feel loved.

Then there was the time when I was home during a college break, and during an ice storm ran into another car. On the phone, the first thing my dad asked was, "Are you hurt?" and after I told him no, he came to where I had the accident and sat in the police cruiser with me while the officer took the information.

I was about 20 years old, but his silent presence spoke quite loudly: "Don't hurt my little girl." Even though I was a young woman, the little girl in me was glad my daddy was there to protect me.

After I was married and we bought our second house, I was touched by my husband's thoughtfulness. We supposedly had sold our first house, but as we were moving into our second house we learned that the sale of our first house fell through _ which meant $1,300-per-month house payments.

On top of that we found live termites and a nasty roach problem in our new house immediately after closing; chalk up another $1,000.

As I entered our completely empty home, except for termites and roaches, I noticed that on the mantle was a beautiful gold clock that played Ave Maria on the hour. I always wanted one of those clocks and Tom knew it. I was really touched.

I could go on and on. I could tell you how two pudgy hands covered with spaghetti sauce, wrapped around my neck, sends shivers of joy down my spine, or how my daughter Sarah sometimes says, "Mommy, you're the best mommy in the whole world," after which I promptly buy her anything she chooses. (Just kidding.)

I am truly blessed; that's what I have been thinking. I also have been thinking that some people may not have many loving memories and, unfortunately, there might be those who don't have any. It makes me want to give them some; how about you?

Well, you're probably not really jealous of Mr. and Mrs. Mousekewitz. Especially since my son already has gotten "goober" all over Mrs. Mousekewitz and you can't wash them because they would no longer look like slippers.

But I'm content with my tacky $15 pair of slippers because they have added a "warm fuzzy" to my life.

Pauline Hylton of Clearwater is a mother of two and co-owner with her husband of a charter fishing boat at Clearwater Marina.

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