When I asked Knost what he'd learned from their 22 years of releasing Valentine's balloons, he says, "I've learned that true love is not about flowers, candy, gifts or even balloons. I've learned it's not about possessions, wealth, youth or power. I've learned that tough times are par for the course, but the course always gets smoother if you just keep playing. I also discovered it's not always about me.
"But more importantly," Knost said, "I've learned that true love really comes with no strings attached."
Another Valentine story came from my Nashville, Tenn., friend Doug Williams, a member, along with his wife Telisha, of the band Wild Ponies. (Their new CD, "Things that used to shine," is currently at No. 18 on the Americana Ratings Chart.)
Wrote Williams, "A couple years ago, the Monday before Valentine's Day, Telisha and I challenged ourselves to write a love song where nobody got drunk or killed. That's a challenge for us."
Telisha wrote the first verse of the song and then went out for a run. While she was gone, Doug wrote the second. Later, they wrapped up the chorus together, which is how their song "Valentine's Day" came to be.
Skip ahead a year, to the next Valentine's Day. The group was playing in Nashville, and their drummer, Jake, was nervous as a cat because his girlfriend was coming to the show.
"When we got to 'Valentine's Day' on the set list, I said, 'Jake, why don't you take a break on this one. Go dance with Mary.'
"We started the song, and Jake dropped to one knee. The crowd went crazy."
Williams had another fitting story to share.
"My great-grandmother was born on Valentine's Day in 1900," he wrote. "She was the epitome of love. Just a happy, wise, wonderful little Buddha of a person who loved to laugh and was kind to everyone.
"She collected lots of red stuff -- glasses, plates, just all kinds of really cool things. When she passed away, we all got to go pick out something to keep. I choose two old red, small glasses.
"Every year on Feb. 14, Telisha and I have a private little moment and drink a toast to each other, and to Mamma Nell in her little 'rose-colored glasses.'"
A notion that's a shade or two more romantic than a dead cow.
Reach Karin Fuller via email at karinful...@gmail.com.