It’s almost Valentine’s Day.
By DEB SVOBODA
Special to The Star
Northland florist John Shackelford has found that the more romantic men usually plan ahead, but some wait until the last minute. “Suddenly it’s Valentine’s Day and they can’t go home unless they have flowers or something in hand,” he said. “Men see it more as a hall pass.”
But there are many ways to celebrate the date.
“Because I travel a lot and have a really hectic business life, as well as having three kids,” explained Kansas City North’s Mike Lettera, “my idea of a perfect Valentine’s Day is to go to a restaurant with my wife, have a nice dinner and spend some quality time just being able to talk about what’s going on in our life. If it gives us the chance to do that, good for Valentine’s Day.”
Elizabeth Saunders of Parkville would like to spend the evening just making dinner at home with her family. “They would have to do the dishes and clean up the kitchen for me,” she said, “then a movie on the couch with my husband and kids, and definitely some sort of really delicious dessert — anything chocolate related.”
For the past 60 years Jim and Pauline Van Slyke of Liberty have celebrated Valentine’s Day together.
“You want to come up with something special,” said Jim. “It doesn’t have to be really big, but something that has some thought to it.” One year he hand-painted a picture of roses for Pauline with a gold-plated valentine’s inscription. Unlike fresh flowers, she said, “that painting is a lasting memory I’ll always have.”
Sarah Rendo of Kansas City plans to enjoy the night with friends eating coma-inducing amounts of sugar and binge-watching the new season of House of Cards. If there isn’t a significant other, she suggests throwing a Pal-entine’s Day party.
“Get your solo friends together for a fancy dinner … give each other gifts.” She laughed, “Take all the money you would’ve spent on a gift for your boyfriend and get a massage, sky dive or get new head shots for your match.com profile.”
Ruth and Ron Mason of Lee’s Summit agreed years ago not to exchange gifts, but they still make the day memorable. A few years ago Ruth decorated dozens of paper hearts for her mother to distribute to residents in her assisted living center.
“Neither of us could ever have anticipated how warmly these simple valentines would be received,” she said. “People were thrilled.” Ruth hopes others will take the opportunity this Friday to give joy to those who may feel forgotten. “Deliver handmade hearts to a nursing home or hospital. Take treats to an animal shelter. Bake for an elderly neighbor, your local police or firefighters,” she said. “Or pay for the meal of the person behind you in the drive-through lane.”
For Brookside couple Guy Montgomery and Maria Butz, who have dated since college, the day is typically spent taking a walk, exchanging homemade cards, and dinner in or out. “We have come to appreciate the small things,” says Butz. “For us, everyday is Valentine’s Day,” added Montgomery. “This year I have really big plans, but it’s a surprise!”