Here’s a column I wrote for the Friday News Tribune. Maybe you’ll enjoy it:
It’s so difficult to know what to give her. Every Valentine’s Day, I struggle with the decision.
She knows I love her. That is not a question. I tell her how much she means to me nearly every day.
But on Valentine’s Day, she deserves something special, something tangible that conveys the depths of my feelings for her.
I often ask other guys for suggestions, but none of their ideas seem to be what I’m looking for.
I’ll tell you what she likes. She likes it best when we just go for a long walk together. Just the other evening, shortly before dusk, we took a long hike together through the woods near our home. She had had a long day. During that walk, we climbed to a high, bare rock just in time to see the full moon rising like a giant peach in the east. We stood there together, taking in the scene. We could both feel the stress draining out of us as we stood there watching the moon rise.
I guess we just like the simple things.
We’ve had a great time getting together at the cabin of friends in summer. We hang out on the dock, listening to the little waves slapping at the pilings. If she gets too hot, she takes a dip and swims out toward a nearby island. Then we rest in the sun. If we should fall asleep, well, that’s fine, too.
Sometimes, we pack some food and head up the North Shore for a hike on the Superior Hiking Trail. We try to pick the off-times, when we’re less likely to run into lots of other folks on the trail. It’s not uncommon for us to walk for a long way in complete silence, just taking in the sun-dappled woods and the sounds of intermittent creeks. After a time, we’ll find a good log, sit down and share a bit of lunch.
As I say, it’s the simple things that mean the most.
We’ll take off occasionally for a road trip, too. We’ll head west or south or north — it doesn’t matter. I’ll crank up some Dylan or Marc Cohn or an old Temptations collection. The miles seem to melt away. Sometimes when we’re taking a break along the way, I’ll look over at her and think how lucky I was to have found her all those years ago. It’s always good to be together in new country, exploring new places. Sometimes, you just need a change of scenery to get a fresh look at life. We come home recharged, our bond strengthened by the time away.
Sometimes, too, we’ll be apart for several days, and that only serves to make us appreciate one another more once we’re back together.
But none of that changes the challenge before me now. What do I get her this year? How do I express my admiration for her with something for Valentine’s Day? I’ll come up with something. But if you have any ideas, feel free to share them with me. Be creative. Make it special.
She’s the best yellow Lab I’ve ever had.