By PETTUS READ
In just a few days, it will be that time of the year when women think of romantic things, men panic and florists hope for early retirement.
Yes, I am referring to February 14 and Valentine's Day, and if you are a man and think it is too early even to be thinking about that sort of thing, then think again. I know it seems like it hasn't been long since Christmas time, but you have been hearing those mall advertisements for the last several weeks.
How about letting me give my fellow man an early warning about a special day that could be the difference between hearing "I love you" from the one you love or that extremely cold word when the man asks her what is wrong and she says, "Nothing." Burrrrr…
Cards, flowers and candy seem to be the main purchases expected by the ladies, followed by jewelry and some items of clothing. Men seem to be the only ones who consider the clothing purchases important and usually those gifts never see the light of day again after they are opened.
Many of us could be the poster children for "what not to buy your sweetie for Valentine's Day." Some of the surprises I have heard husbands buy for that special day over the years have been a new cast iron skillet, an ironing board, new support hose, a garden hoe, and a year's supply of washing powders, just to name a few. Those individuals are what I would call practical men, and practicality may work when it comes to dealing with the household or farm budget, but when it comes to that day of the year when ladies want a little more than practicality, and if the husband wants to receive more than a "practical" amount of response for the gift he gives, I would suggest non-practical buying on February 14.
One of my favorite stories I have heard and shared with you before, is one about a farm couple who always seemed to be the practical type. Gifts were simple and useful on all occasions, as well as their time spent together involved nothing more than home cooked meals by the wife. On one special Valentine's Day, the wife was in the kitchen getting ready to fix the evening meal. It seems the farm husband had given her a new set of kitchen knives on that Valentine's Day and she was getting them out of the box. Without her knowing it, her husband stepped up behind her and said, "Would you like to go out, Girl?"
Being totally surprised she spun around and hugged him and said, "I'd love to!"
That night they traveled down to the local cafe and had an evening that the farm wife would never forget. They had the house special of pork chops, mashed potatoes, turnip greens and lots of sweet tea. The old farmer even put a quarter in the jukebox and played one of their favorite songs.
The farmer was also a person who couldn't tell a lie, and on their way home that night, he confessed that his question about going out, that the wife had thought was addressed to her, had actually been directed to ole Kate, the family dog lying near the wife's feet on the kitchen floor.
I don't remember where I heard this story, but it proves that it doesn't hurt to be a little impractical at times, especially when it comes to showing your love for those who hold a special place in your life.
This will make the fourth Valentine's Day without my special one, and you know, I wished I had been a lot less practical in those 35 years of marriage as I look back today. At the time it sounded like a good idea, but now it really doesn't matter since my memories are now chiseled in stone.
So men, take your girl out this Valentine's Day and put the practicality aside for one night. Who knows? It may become a habit and every day may become a non-practical day when it comes to showing your love for that special one in your life.
- Pettus L. Read is Director of Communications for the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation. He may be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org