Sheila Sybrant

Let’s pretend we’re playing a “Family Feud” type of game.

Are you familiar with that game show?

Here is a simplistic explanation of the rules: Two families vie against each other to guess how survey respondents answered questions. For each question, the top answers are hidden on a board and uncovered when a family member guesses them.

For example, let’s suppose, hypothetically, that 100 people were surveyed and asked what people in Nebraska love. The Smith family gets to go first and guesses “Runzas.” Ding, ding, ding! That answer is on the board. It is the fifth most popular answer of the answers given by those surveyed. Then the Jones family gets a turn and guesses “Norfolk Daily News.” Ding, ding, ding! That answer is on the board. It is THE most popular answer of the answers given by those surveyed. (I’m trying to earn brownie points with my editor. Do you suppose it’s working?)

There are, of course, more rules, but you probably know enough to play my individual-player version today — the Valentine’s Day special. In fact, no actual people were surveyed and no prizes will be given, but we can have fun anyway, right? So, are you ready to play?

The question is this: What is Valentine’s Day known for?

Your job is to find the answer “hidden” under the No. 1 spot on the totally imaginary board.

Your first guess is love? Not bad. That will earn you the No. 3 spot.

Chocolate? Getting closer. You’ve just uncovered the second-ranking answer.

Cards? Valentine’s Day may be the second-ranking holiday in terms of greeting cards sold, but that answer will only get you No. 4 on the board.

Give up? OK, I’ll tell you. The answer is “words.”

Stop that groaning and eye-rolling right now. You may think that Cupid hit me in the brain instead of the heart, but just hear me out.

Valentine’s Day, whether you realize it, is all about words.

Exhibit 1: Greeting cards. As mentioned, Valentine’s Day is not the No. 1 holiday for the greeting card industry. Christmas holds that honor. Still, Valentine’s Day is No. 2 with millions of cards sold — which means millions and millions of words.

Exhibit 2: Songs. Granted, if you Google “holiday with most songs,” you’ll come up with Christmas, and certainly there are more Christmas songs than pieces of tinsel stuck to your rug after you take down the tree. Still, I would argue that there are more songs about love than there are Christmas songs. In fact, if you Google “percentage of songs about love,” you’ll find that at least 60 percent deal with this topic.

Exhibit 3: Candy. I’m not talking quantity, although I’m sure that the number of heart-shaped boxes of chocolates sold would make quite a towering stack. I’m talking about actual words here. Is there any other holiday on which so much conversational candy is sold? Not only do we have heart-shaped candies with cute little expressions, but we also have Valentine’s chocolates with foil wrappers imprinted with clever inspirational sayings.

Exhibit 4: Expressions of love … and apologies. Yes, Valentine’s Day is a prime day for verbal expressions of love. And for those who forgot the flowers and mixed tapes of love songs and chocolate hearts, well, the day is a day of profuse verbal expressions of remorse and pleas for forgiveness.

Valentine’s Day is a day when no one is at a loss for words.

Readers may contact Sybrant at or 45092 859th Road, Bassett, NE 68714.


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