When I came home from work today I found an anonymous valentine on the kitchen table.

It had tissue paper glued in the middle, almost to look like a flower, and messages written in black marker all around the edges. "HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY", "L-O-V-E-S Y-O-U" "LOL", and in the center the typed message, "Somebody loves you." I don't have kids, and I don't know any in my neighborhood, but I'm guessing there's a thoughtful child somewhere who played cupid today.

Looking at the anonymous valentine (after thinking about how cute it was), I was hit with nostalgia for when I lived in Portland Maine. And I think it's the only place I'd want to be on Valentine's Day.

What Is the 'Valentine Bandit'?

You see, Portland Maine is visited by the 'Valentine Bandit' every year on Valentine's Day. When I lived there, we'd wake up with our town covered in paper hearts. The door of every business or venue would have a white piece of paper with a big red heart in the center. The first year we lived there we were totally puzzled. We thought it was a stunt. But then it showed up again the next year. We started to guess who was responsible. A popular theory that circulated was the Portland Fire Department was responsible for the hearts, but it remained just a theory.

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Every year that we lived in Portland, it happened, like clockwork on Valentine's Day. Eventually, it became something we looked forward to. It was like the whole town of Portland was in a lighter mood when there were hearts everywhere.

Where Does the 'Bandit' Strike?

I did a little research and it turns out--the 'Valentine Bandit' has visited other cities in the United States. They also have another name: the 'Valentine Phantom'. According to Wikipedia, variations of the 'Bandit' have appeared in Boulder, Colorado, Bangor, Maine, and Montpelier, Vermont.

'Valentine Bandit', Please Come to Missoula Next Year

Given Montana's growing pains, I'd like to invite the 'Valentine Bandit' to visit Missoula. I think we could all use a gentle reminder to love ourselves and love one another. Sure, it's just hearts and doors, but maybe one person who would have hazed a car with California plates would think twice. Maybe the bandit could visit on a random Thursday in April if they're busy. How do we apply for the honor?
Consider this my application on behalf of Missoula.

Best Romantic Movies to Watch on Valentine's Day

I absolutely love a good romantic movie. And I love them when they are goofy just as much as I love them when they are downright sappy. Check out some of my favorite romantic movies of all time.

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