Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, And let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth;

Walk in the ways of your heart, And in the sight of your eyes ... Ecclesiastes 11:9

Valentine’s Day, also called Saint Valentine’s Day, is an annual holiday celebrated on Feb. 14.

It is recognized as a significant cultural and commercial celebration in many regions around the world, although it is not a public holiday in any country.

God blessed me with a Tom Sawyer-type of boyhood that was unique and exciting.

Although born in South Carolina, I spent most of my earlier childhood in Oak Ridge, TN, “the city behind the fence.”

World War II was in progress and the United States was developing the first atomic bomb in a secret location – and I lived there!

It was a city that was literally cut out of the mountains near Knoxville with dirt and gravel roads, plywood flat-top houses, and, most noteworthy, surrounded by two parallel fences that prevented anyone from entering or leaving without a badge cleared for top secret clearance security.

There were many memories from those days, and one of those was Jan, the cutest girl in the world.

We (the neighborhood kids) would meet at a storm drain below our house and share stories of our day and our imaginations.

But it was even more special to me as I noted Jan would always nudge closer to me while everyone laughed and enjoyed the next tale that was told.

For more on this story please pick up Thursday’s Tribune or purchase an e-edition.

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