It was on a cold February night in the early 1980's that I asked my girlfriend to marry me. We were college students in Iowa and, at that young age, she did not have enough sense to run for it when I popped the question.
When she teared up, I suddenly feared I had asked an absurd question. I knew she was not swayed by the size of the diamond, as it was nearly invisible to the human eye. I double checked to make sure I had not knelt on her toes. Ruling out logical explanations, I did the discreet thing and asked why she was crying. Turns out, it was February 10th and she thought I just could not wait until Valentine's Day. Yes, she mistook me for a hopeless romantic.
There was only one problem, I never gave Valentine's Day any thought. My memories of that day and celebration were less than fabulous. In school, I recall watching the popular guys getting loads of cards and candy from the girls. And the cards I gave out might as well have been labeled: Caution! This card is infested with anthrax, dog slobber, and RV's cooties. Good ol' St. Valentine's Day just did not hold any happy romantic reminiscence for me.
The truth was, the tenth was pay day and I was able to pay off the ring that day. It was not especially romantic, just practical.
So here we are thirty-three years later. You might have guessed she said yes. Poor thing, she's been stuck with Mr. Practical all these years. I hope I did not ruin her life.
As practical as I am, however, we do celebrate a few important dates. We celebrate the day we met. We celebrate the day we almost met. We celebrate the first time she saw me eat a peanut butter sandwich. I guess that was amusing to normal people back then. We celebrate the day we “went steady,” the day I proposed, and the day we got married. We sprinkle in a dozen or so other random important memory milestones and count our marriage years and months as well.
Thinking about it, I wonder how we get any work done with all that celebrating. Maybe being practical is not all that bad after all.