Well, today is Valentine’s Day. Husband is on the Rez and will return tonight. We have never really celebrated this day much, as I will get flowers and chocolates for myself anytime I want them, and I don’t expect my stressed and overworked spouse to get them for me. He says he always feels spoiled and catered to by me, so he has no expectations for me today, either.
When I think of this day, I think of Al Capone, the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, and a guy named A. Claire Dispenet (Ace), the Francophone owner of the original Magnolia Bar and Steak House in Magnolia, MN. Magnolia is about 6 miles east of Luverne. My dad grew up there. Claire had a rather shady history as a bootlegger in the 1920’s. My dad worked for Claire as a bartender in the 1950’s before he built his gas station and coffee shop. During Prohibition, Claire drove a beer truck on Minnesota’s North Shore for the Capone organization. His beer truck was stolen, and Claire had to phone Chicago to relate the news. He was told to not worry about it, and that they knew who the guys were who stole the truck, and that “We will take care of them”. Claire knew what that meant, and decided then and there and seek employment elsewhere. He didn’t want to be involved in a murder. He ended up serving time in Ft. Leavenworth Prison for bootlegging sometime after that, though. My dad really liked him. Ace, as he was affectionately called, was a character. His wife was a very devout Catholic and made sure he was buried as close as possible to the grave of the former priest in the Luverne Catholic Cemetery. Dad said she hoped Ace could grab onto the Priest’s robes and sneak into heaven behind him.
How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day now. What are your memories of this day from elementary school?