Early in our married life, we never failed to celebrate Valentine's Day. After all, it came only five days after our wedding anniversary, so it was an easy-to-remember event, even for a sometimes date-challenged husband.
Although we were never big spenders on such occasions, I usually made his favorites for supper and he often brought me a card, candy or flowers
But as the years - then the decades - then the half-century passed, our Valentine's Day observances became less predictable, but just as sincere. A first-thing-in-the-morning kiss and hug replaced the gifts and cards. And that was just fine by both of us.
This year, however, my beloved husband of 58 years did manage to bring me a memorable token just in time for Valentine's Day.
It was something he got at work. In fact, many of his hardware store customers, as well as folks he works with, already had this little gem. So it was only natural for a devoted husband and father to share it with his loved ones at home.
The "gift" was a really nifty new virus that seems to morph into something special for each victim it comes in contact with.
For hubby George, the bug resulted in a three-day cold. But this unstoppable guy kept working through the symptoms and quickly sprang back to his normal strong and sturdy self.
By the time the gift bug had been passed along to me, it had developed into a far less easygoing visitor. In my not-so-hardy body, the miserable critter turned into a rollicking case of bronchitis.
After a visit to my ever-dependable Dr. N., I came home armed with all the stuff necessary to sustain life while working my way through the residency of the virus family I was now hosting. My supplies included antibiotics - just in case there were some bacteria hanging around with the virus team - cough medicine for the ever-present hack, even a course of prednisone to break up all that nasty congestion.
It's been a week now, and George's "gift" is finally losing some of its hold on my system. The lasting side effect, however, is a well-developed case of laryngitis.
Now I am ready to admit to the world that there are few things I depend on as much as my voice - my car, checkbook and credit cards come to mind. But, I'm convinced a voice is a really terrible thing to lose.
This, however, may just be my Valentine's Day gift to hubby George. It gave him the kind of peace and quiet he hasn't enjoyed in a long time.
With all this in mind, I'm already planning ahead to next Valentine's Day. When the date nears, I intend to have a very pointed talk with my life partner. If he must bring something home to me in honor of our love, please make it a potted plant.