Keith Taylor column 4

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and I still have a few days left to shop.

It’s not that I put things off, but Valentine’s Day also occurred in the same time frame as my mom’s birthday on Feb., 15 and this year will be the first year she won’t be with us to celebrate her big day.

Before I took Valentine’s Day seriously, mom would always get my sister Taunya and I a Valentine’s Day chocolate with a heart or some of candy with the hearts on them that spell out different words to say to your sweetheart.

As I got older, she carried on that tradition with her two grandchildren, Shelby and Addisyn. She loved those two girls and went out of her way to do anything she could for them.

In retrospect, we celebrated mom’s birthday more than Valentine’s Day when we were growing up and continued that trend up until last year when we celebrated what would be her last birthday on earth with us. We went to one of her favorite restaurants and it was either Red Lobster or Texas Roadhouse. I can’t remember, because the past year has been more of a blur than a memory.

When Rhonda and I got married 20 years ago, I realized that Valentine’s Day should be taken more seriously and I have tried my best to keep the tradition of keeping the one rose a year tradition alive since 2001.

Aside from the rose, I always pick out the perfect card, which requires some serious thought even as other people, mostly guys and men, see a card based on its cover, pick it up, pay for it, signed, sealed and delivered.

I made that mistake one year on mom’s birthday and she never let me live it down the rest of her life.

For some reason, I picked up a card that had a pretty cover, bought it and signed it. When she opened it, she laughed harder than I believe I had ever heard her laugh in her life. The card was one of those, “I love you” from across the miles, designated for loved ones who are separated by continents rather than a few miles in the same county.

From that point on, I chose my cards, no matter the designation, more carefully. Despite being more cautious, sometimes I slip and fail, such as the year I gave Rhonda one of her first Valentine’s Day cards from yours truly.

I bought her one of those humorous married couple cards and found out rather quickly she was more into those cards that had a serious message and meaning.

Lesson learned.

Since that time, I’ve been more careful when it comes to choosing Valentine’s Day cards. As they say, choose your friends wisely and I might add, choose your cards wisely, too.

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