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The perfect Valentine’s Day gift: time

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In case you haven’t noticed the hearts and flowers and gift suggestions, I’m here to tell you Valentine’s Day is Tuesday.

Plenty of people think it’s a “Hallmark holiday” dreamed up by some romantic to sell cards, flowers and gifts. So? I like it. It’s a day that’s all about love. It’s a day you can hug your main squeeze and say “I love you” without them wondering whether it’s the prelude to an apology.

It’s not a day, however, to run out and grab some product in shrink wrap with a crappy bow and a heart on it. Personally, I’d rather get a hand-written note than some of the things retailers are peddling for the last-minute Valentine shopper.

A lot of people I know would like time for Valentine’s Day. Yes, time. Time to sleep late, time to sit and talk, time to reminiscence about some fun times. I think the older a person gets, the more they feel time with loved ones is a gift.

Out of curiosity, I asked some of my friends what their best Valentine had been. The answers ranged from granddaughters to eyeglasses.

My friend Dana Mastio said her favorite gift was a Build-A-Bear teddy bear her husband got her. “He had it dressed in an outfit exactly like the one he used to wear ALL the time: jeans, a work shirt and brown cowboy hat and boots. It looked just like him! I still have that bear and it sits on our bed,” she said. She was quick to tell me her husband doesn’t wear that outfit anymore.

Darcee Datteri says that, for many years, her parents got her new prescription glasses for Valentine’s Day. That’s how she ended up with so many great eyeglasses as accessorizing options. Another favorite: Last year she was surprised when her boyfriend took her to the symphony. This year she’s happy to report they’re going to the “Carousel” performance.

Robin Macy decided this coming Valentine’s Day will be her best ever. “This year! Performing with the one and only Kentucky White (her husband), Cherokee Maidens and Sycamore Swing at Barleycorn. What a gift!”

Kacy Meinecke thinks the best Valentine gift she ever received was a visit to a spa for a massage after her second daughter was born.

The first year Susan Peters and her husband were married, her husband decided he’d kick off Valentine’s Day early and sent a bouquet of roses to her workplace at a San Diego TV station every day for five days. He continues the tradition. “My co-workers at KAKE got a little tired of it,” she said. But she hasn’t.

Joyce Gregory didn’t hesitate a second. “My best Valentine gift was my granddaughter, Jaycee. She was born on Feb. 14, and now she’s 11 years old.”

Polly Gentry still loves the garnet ring she got from her then-fiance. “We had just gotten engaged, and he gave me a garnet ring. I thought, ‘Wow! Two rings. Well, all right!’ ”

Sally Thompson has had some nice Valentine gifts – a little red convertible, for example – but she still remembers her worst Valentine’s Day. She was a fifth-grader and she saw the boy she liked walking down the street toward her house with a Valentine in his hand. “He got to my house and just kept on walking right down to my friend’s house. The Valentine was for her. I was sad.”

Sierra Scott’s best Valentine’s Day was when she was a child. She spent the whole day working with her grandfather in his wood shop. They were building a dollhouse for her. “I still have it to this very day. It reminds me of one of the best days of my life,” she said.

If you don’t like Valentine’s Day, just remember it’s a day to celebrate love – and that’s anyone you love. So give in and give a gift. And remember a hug, a note or your time are all gifts – and none of them are shrink-wrapped.

Reach Bonnie Bing at bingbylines@gmail.com.

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