So, it’s Valentine’s Day. We’ll work our way out of this winter yet. But today we pause for a little romance. At least that’s what we’ve been told over and over, especially by the women in our lives. Being a guy who is romantic every day, it’s hard for me to step up my game for an artificially created Day of Romance. Especially since I played my trump card last Feb. 14. That was the day I proposed to my wife. That is going to be tough to top this year!

A little background: The lady I proposed to last year had also been my high school girlfriend. After dinner we went to see a concert at a well-known local performing arts center featuring a singer who was at his most famous when the two of us were a couple. In the parking lot, I proposed using my high school class ring (which kept me from the chore of picking out an engagement ring on my own). She said “yes,” and the rest is history.

Before last year, both my wife and I were among the sensible who took note of Feb. 14 except to remember that candy would be on sale on the 15th. “Half-price love,” as she called it. The price of flowers comes back down to earth on that day also. It’s the Dec. 26 of romantic gifts. But for at least this year, it’s time for a mushy, romantic gesture.

I had tried to make dinner reservations at a Fort Wayne restaurant. My wife told everyone that this restaurant was the one I used to take her out to quite often when we were dating many years ago. Around the time we started dating, she talked about how romantic it would be if we would go back to this restaurant where I had taken her so many times before. She was quite surprised when I told her flatly, “I’ve never been to that restaurant.”

“Sure you have,” she countered. “We went there every couple of months of so.”

“Nope,” I insisted. “I’ve never been there. You must be thinking of someone else.”

Eventually she figured out that the guy who used to take her to that restaurant was some guy she dated about 20 years ago, long after we had gone our separate ways after high school. For some reason, I had gotten the credit for taking her there over and over again. When we finally did go to that restaurant about a year and a half ago, she kept trying to convince me that I had eaten there. No dice.

I was going to take her to that restaurant, but they are booked solid for the whole weekend. But I was able to make reservations at the local restaurant we are one year ago today. I told you I’m just a romantic fool. No concert this time around though. Maybe we can sit around and listen to music on the eight-track.

I realize Valentine’s Day is a tough day for single people. It’s also rough on us husbands who are out of ideas. It’s rougher still on husbands who think good presents for Valentine’s Day can be found in the appliance section of the big box store. Pity the man who brought home a new vacuum cleaner for his precious wife on Feb. 14. It just doesn’t seem to be as tough on wives. They leisurely go out and buy the perfect Valentine’s card, pen a few lines for the inside, and the day is set. No thrashing for the perfect gift or romantic gesture. You see, wives know that all a man needs is to feel like his wife doesn’t horribly regret her wedding day and that he can stick around the house for another year (or at least a few months). Often that gets tougher as the number of years since the wedding day increases. For others it is just too much trouble to go out and look for a replacement husband, so another Valentine’s Day passes.

As for me, I’m continually grateful that my high school girlfriend, then ex-girlfriend, then friend, then love interest, then fiancee, then wife is my life partner. At a time when I wasn’t sure what would happen to me, love happened. And I get to hang around the house for at least a few more months. What could be sweeter?

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!