Diane Becker, "Country Life"

I’ve shared Valentine Day’s with my husband, Tom, at a farm marketing seminar, the CPA’s office and on the bleachers of a high school gym while watching a basketball game.

Through the years we’ve found that a better way to celebrate the holiday is by going out with friends for a prime rib special. (I order the shrimp.)

Through the years, I’ve learned lots about celebrating Valentine’s Day.

While we were still dating, I once bought Tom pink fuzzy socks and a plush pink pig for a Valentine’s Day gift.

With a few decades of married life under our belt, I am now aware that the fuzzy socks were not a great idea as they didn’t fit easily inside Tom’s pointed cowboy boots.

What was I thinking? What any 18-year-old girl would think — that pink socks with a little heart applique sewed on them were as romantic of gift as you could give. As for the plush pink pig, the nearest thing to a pig I would buy Tom these days is a bacon and egg sandwich.

I once took a large heart-shaped box of chocolates from Tom to my college dorm after a Valentine’s weekend at home only to watch my roommate and a visiting classmate pick through and eat all of the caramels.

This year, I will keep up with my standard practice of buying the largest heart-shaped box of pecan delights I can find, and only Tom and I will knowwhat cupboard they’re hidden in. You don’t ever forget watching someone else eat your Valentine candy.

When we were in high school, Tom gave me a Valentine’s Day gift of a silver bracelet with our names engraved on it. I lost it. He gave me another one the following year, which I also lost.

Lesson learned. No more gifts of jewelry that will break my heart if it’s lost or stolen.

It took me two years of seeing a purchase of flowers on our credit card statement to put that practice to a quick end. Now, any living stems given as a gift have to be connected to a potted plant.

Frosted heart cookies are the one constant through the years. I remember bringing one home from college only to have it flip onto the floor of my car after a sharp turn.

Thankfully, it’s tight plastic wrapping and shellac frosting kept it nearly as good as new.

I’ve since bought many Valentine cookies — all given in great shape no matter how far ahead of Feb. 14 they’re purchased.

This Valentine’s Day isn’t our first rodeo. Let other people give monstrous teddy bears and monogrammed pink robes to their sweethearts for Valentine’s Day. Tom and I will be celebrating with friends, prime rib, shrimp and Russell Stovers.

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