Kukka by Sally Kilgore: Old Valentines

Kukka by Sally Kilgore: Old Valentines

Rockwall, TX (February 8, 2024) – As I began to consider this column, I was sitting in front of the Christmas tree. No, I do not leave the tree up until February! The tree came down during the first week of January. Our tree, as for many of you, is filled with memories. Most years it takes some self-convincing to begin putting the house back to order after the holidays, pack away the tree and ornaments. There is one very special ornament on our Christmas tree. Read on.

The B.O.B. (in case you are new or not paying attention, B.O.B. is my husband, the acronym stands for Big Old Bear) and I met a thousand years ago, at an open house for a motorcycle dealership. This is surprising to some folks who tend to see me as having somewhat of a Doris Day type persona. I was modeling leathers – leather chaps and jacket, boots, riding gear. (Please note I wore a black turtleneck and black jeans beneath the leathers!) I was not a model; I belonged to a bike club sponsored by the dealership and agreed to help with the open house. At any rate, we met, and I recall a spark, though I did not acknowledge it at the time. Chris joined the club, and we became good friends. The friendship was a few years in, when we became aware that a spark was beginning to light into more of a flame, and soon we knew a fire was burning. We would become more than friends.

Key to our successful marriage is that we were friends first. We LIKED each other, we held each other in high regard, with a mutual respect. We still do. This is a great basis for a twenty-seven plus year marriage and an even longer love story.

There was a time when starting a life together was uncertain. We purchased a Christmas ornament that was an enameled replica of a postage stamp and decided it was Our first ornament, commemorating the year we knew the friendship had become more. When we got to our first Christmas as a married couple, we began a tradition that we would always hang the stamp on the tree, together, before anything else. We have kept that tradition since 1996. 2023 was our twenty-seventh year to place the stamp on the tree, and every year I become verklempt. Every time. As I pack the tree away each year, the stamp ornament is carefully folded into tissue and placed on the very top of the box of the best ornaments.

For years, The B.O.B. was that wonderful guy who sent flowers for Valentine’s Day, Anniversary, and sometimes for no occasion at all. A practice I much appreciated. However, over twenty years into our marriage, I opened my own floral business and since, he has been too intimidated to send me flowers from another florist. I have since closed my floral business, but he is still hesitant to send flowers. It is probably just as well; I can be somewhat critical of arrangements from other shops.

We have enjoyed many wonderful dinners at fine places over the years, including The French Room, The Riviera (remember The Riviera?) Adelmos, Café Pacific. Even in the early years when Chris was introducing me to fine dining, I was not big on dinner out on Valentine’s Day. We would typically go before the fourteenth. I love a romantic dinner, but my sensible side kicks in. I hate the crowds and the hurried servings when dining out on Valentine’s Day. These years I am often known to simply prepare a nice supper at home, sometimes with tapioca (The Bear’s favorite) for dessert.

I remember a year we both gave each other the same card. This seemed indicative of our compatibility which was strong and has continued through the years. One copy of that card still resides on the front of our refrigerator.

We find as we grow on, the friendship has deepened, the love is richer. As we’ve grown older, our life has become quieter and ever more comfortable. Birthdays and Christmas have been more significant for recognizing our love and life than Valentine’s Day. Hearts and flowers and pink and red cards are sweet. As we’ve grown to this place with each other, Valentine’s gifts say “I Love You” no more than other days.

In 2022, I told The B.O.B. that I did not want jewelry (he likes to say “a trinket”) or even a dinner out for Valentine’s Day. We had been in our new home close to a year. I wanted to choose more trees for The Mildscape. We headed to our favorite nursery and chose two tall holly trees which put out berries for the chilly winter months. We look from our bedroom window in the morning and those red bits amongst all the green and the birds flitting in and out of the branches, bring us a shared joy.

We lead busy and separate lives. There is no one I would rather come home to and lay my head next to each night, nor anyone I’d rather spend time with. Evidence of our love and friendship.

Whether you are new Valentines, old, settled Valentines, or any status in between, I wish you and your special person a sweet Valentine’s Day. I wish you long, enduring days to share together, memories to hold forever. Celebrate at will!

Sally Kilgore is a resident of Fate, transplanted from Rowlett, across the lake. She is married to her long-time flame, Judge Chris Kilgore, (aka The B.O.B.) When not writing, gardening, filling in at the local flower shop or hanging out with grandkids, Sally devotes her time to serving Bob Kilgore, a well sized, Tuxedo cat with panache.

You can contact Sally at SallyAKilgore@gmail.com , and visit her website: SallyAKilgore.com