Here's to one and only one, and may that one be she who loves but one, and may that one be me. My "one" was my pretty little bride waiting to join me; I was in the Air Force stationed at Ladd AFB, Fairbanks, back before Alaska was even a state; we got overseas pay for serving in a foreign country at that time back in the '60s.

Valentine's Day was fast approaching and they were having a Base-wide Beauty Contest. The idea as I understood it was to submit your wife's picture and if she was selected, you would win $100, a three-day pass and some other goodies. Wow!

I knew my little beauty could beat out any lady in the world. So I filled out the form and submitted my wife's picture. Two weeks passed and I was informed my gal won! With anxious anticipation I waited for the Base Valentine's Day Dinner to be held in her honor and collect my prizes.

At the appointed time I put on my best uniform and showed up at the formal ball; the base commander was there and more brass and stripes than I'd seen in my short career. After all the smiles, salutes, handshakes and back slaps, they asked me where my wife was.

In New Jersey, said I.

Through gritted teeth, the lieutenant in charge informed me she was supposed to be there to be crowned Ms. Ladd AFB.

Oops. Apparently I had missed the fine print advertising the event. Not good. Very embarrassing. The handshakes and back slaps stopped, and the smiles were as frozen as the Arctic tundra.

The people in Jesus' day missed the point as well, but with more serious consequences - I noticed my promotions got held up, but they lost their soul. I missed the fine print about bringing my wife to the event but the message of the coming Messiah was loud and clear.

Jesus' miraculous birth as foretold in the Scriptures, His three-year ministry of healing, setting people free and even raising the dead were ignored. His gruesome death as detailed in Isaiah 53 was not taken into account. His burial and bodily resurrection were dismissed - even called myth. When people tell me the gospel is a myth I tell them they are mythtaken, mythinformed and mytherable.

So what to do with your love this Valentine's Day to avoid the "oops" factor?

You could take her to the movies or rent a video but since movies have gone from silent to unspeakable, maybe that's not such a good idea. Maybe you could take her to listen to a rock band; I wouldn't know much about that, I never studied music depreciation. How about just taking your main squeeze in your arms, tell her you love her, hire a baby sitter and take her to dinner? I love Micky D's and DQ and eat there often, but maybe on the 14th - her special day, you might want to think a little more upscale where she can actually sit down and be served - hello?

Be nice, remember guys: we were put here to live, love and let - not grab, growl and get. To be loved, be lovable. Let your Valentine know she is the "one"; you're happy she loves just one and that one is you.

Richie Colbeth is a chaplain at the Cowboy Chapel in John Day.

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