Monday, February 13, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day

On Feb. 14, Jilda and I celebrate our 43rd Valentine’s Day as a married couple. There were also several years before we tied the knot, but suffice it to say we’ve eaten a few boxes of chocolates together.

In the early years, I was broker than the Ten Commandments, so I had to be creative on Valentine’s Day. It was hard to go wrong with cards and candy so opting for those choices was natural for me.

One of the most memorable experiences was our first Valentine’s Day in 1969. We went to
Vulcan Park in Birmingham. Jilda wore a fitted dress so short it would have made Kim Kardashian blush. I loved that dress. Her hair in those days fell in loose curls down her back. Vulcan was a popular attraction for tourists and locals alike. Before the city updated the monument, the Ironman stood on a pedestal on the edge of Red Mountain.

An observation deck overlooking the city of Birmingham wrapped around Vulcan’s feet. Getting to the viewing deck required clanking up several flights of narrow stairs. But the windblown view of the city lights from that vantage point was worth all the huffing and puffing it took to get up there.

The deck was usually crowded, but on that Valentine’s Day, Cupid must have been smiling on us. We had the view to ourselves. It was clear and cool that evening. As we stood leaning against the viewing deck rail on top of Red Mountain, the wind whipped Jilda’s hair like a flag. She slid shivering behind me so that I would block the wind. It felt good to be alive, to be there. It’s an experience I will never forget. We stood in silence for a few minutes before heading into the shelter of the stairwell.

Through the years, my gift-giving record was hit and miss. I could write a book on WHAT NOT to buy your significant other on that special day. For example, I learned that an umbrella is an unacceptable gift. One of my friends had some great advice to share. He learned that a membership to a gym, Weight Watchers, or in fact any gift having to do with weight loss is inappropriate for that particular holiday. It was an unfortunate lesson for him. He said he only had to eat TV Dinners for about a month.

Age has made me smarter. I don’t wait until the last minute to buy cards and gifts. Typically, I will ask what she’d like for Valentine’s Day. I’ve gifted visits to the spa, pedicures, a high-dollar dinner at a nice restaurant, and sometimes she gets a gift card to one of her favorite stores. But she prefers a good experience over gifts.

The first Valentine’s Day after hitting the lottery I plan to take Jilda to Paris and dine at Le Meurice. I’ve read that it’s one of the best restaurants in Europe. That would be an experience of a lifetime.

On this Valentine’s Day, this is what I know for sure — Given the choice between things and experiences, opt for the experience. You will often forget the things you get for Valentine’s Day, but you’ll remember a special experience for the rest of your life.

Happy Valentine’s Day.


  1. Awwww...Happy Valentines day you two lovebirds! Hope it's a fun, memorable one with no rain so you don't have to give an umbrella. umbrella?

  2. Anonymous1:55 AM

    So what are you doing tomorrow?

  3. I can see you work very hard to keep your relationship fresh and young even though your knees are getting rusty.

    Le Meurice is a spectacular place to dine and pretty impressive and sophisticated menu but I bet Jilda's meals can top their dinner.

    Happy Valentine Day

    Hugs, Julia

  4. Good advice for sure ! You are a wise man. Happy Valentines Day to you both!

  5. I have some experiences with my second wife I wish I could forget.

  6. Happy Valentine's day to you and Jilda. I enjoy reading about true love. Good one!

  7. Mrs. C. and I are also celebrating our 43rd Valentine's Day as a married couple, so that's something else we have in common. Happy Valentine's Day to both of you. Take care.

  8. Your first Valentine's Day story is one of the most romantic stories I have ever read. No wonder Jilda stays with you.

  9. Happy 43rd Valentine's day together! What a special memory you have and pictures say a thousand words so I hope you have a picture of your beautiful wife in the dress you love. I would say getting any gym membership or anything having to do with weight is a no-no no matter what the day!

  10. Women want a gift they can brag about to their girl friends about. You two are cute and show much love.
    Happy Valentines Day.

  11. I agree, experiences and memory-making are the BEST. Like the old song goes, "They can't take that away from me!"
    Happy Valentine's Day!

  12. Happy Valentine's Day! I hope you win the lottery.

  13. Happy Valentine's Day to you and your sweetie!

  14. Rick you are such a romantic... and it so good to hear you are aware that an umbrella is not a good Valentines gift, lol... I hope you and Jilda had a lovely Valentines day xox


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