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Bob Lind, Published February 14 2011

Lind: A Valentine’s story straight from the heart

Many guys and women are exchanging valentines and gifts today. In keeping with that romantic tradition, here’s a Valentine’s Day story featuring a couple who Neighbors wrote about Sunday: Boyd and Marlene Christenson.

Boyd, a popular Fargo TV-radio personality, and Marlene had been married 45 years when he was diagnosed in 2004 with Alzheimer’s disease.

It was difficult for Marlene, seeing her husband gradually losing his famous quick wit and memory. That’s what made a Valentine’s Day event in 2008 so special.

The Christensons had previously spent some time in Mesa, Ariz., staying in a condo belonging to a friend. It was a good place to stay because, with Alzheimer’s deeply affecting Boyd, “it was quite self-contained, and I felt it was still safe for Boyd to go for a walk alone there,” Marlene says.

So they returned in 2008. And it was there when Boyd, either right on Valentine’s Day or close to it, returned from a walk, said, “This is a valentine to you from me,” and handed her a solid stone about 2 inches across that was perfectly heart-shaped.

“He often picked up rocks and brought them home from places we visited,” Marlene says. “You should see the buckets of rocks in our basement.

“He couldn’t tell me where he had picked it up (the stone he’d just found). But I accepted it, and it immediately became a gift as treasured as any I had ever received from him,” she says.

Boyd died the following year.

Today, Marlene keeps that heart-shaped stone on display in their Fargo home.

It’s a solid reminder of that special Valentine’s Day and of every day of her and Boyd’s long marriage.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to 241-5487; or e-mail blind@forumcomm.com