The Best Love Offers

Growing up in the 1950s and ’60s, I was exposed to the many “loves” in life. On the TV, there was “I Love Lucy,” with its sometimes silly and sappy storylines, and later “The Love Boat,” where bed jumping was the popular pastime. On the big screen, I cried buckets of tears when watching “Love Story” and enjoyed the lessons learned in “To Sir, With Love.”

None of these TV shows or movies served as the perfect depiction of what love really was all about. The ’60s brought the “free love” phase in American history when morality faltered and the “me” generation lost sight of everything their parents tried to drill into their heads.

I didn’t have to look far to see that love was all around, as one song suggested. Each time my parents brought home a new sibling, my heart grew bigger as our house grew smaller.

Love doesn’t always come in a big red box of chocolates, but sometimes arrives wrapped in a pink or blue blanket. In fact, one of my brothers was born on Valentine’s Day.

Sometimes love works its way into your heart via a four-legged friend. Man’s best friend shows love unconditionally, teaching humans that no matter what we do, they will be loyal.

Shopping for just the right Valentine’s Day cards can be a challenge. Not for the grandkids, because they just bring out the best in the hearts and hugs category. Picking the perfect card for spouses can be daunting.

During those first few years of marriage, you can’t wait to select the card with sweet and mushy sayings. As the years pass, we turn to something funny. Even later, we again get sentimental and gush about all we’ve shared.

I learned long ago that my own spouse has a unique approach to showing he cares. Nothing spells love more than a gift from the “as seen on TV” selection. Everyone needs a knife that can cut through a can and still slice through a tomato with ease. Thank you, Honey.

I loved those special picture hanger hooks he gave me one year. I guess he got tired of the nail holes in the walls. And when he saw me struggling with chapped, sore hands, he produced a miracle salve that helps me get through the winter.

Love is especially appreciated when it comes to kitchen gadgets. I got pretty excited seeing that large box show up on the kitchen counter recently. What surprise do we have here? It’s just about the nicest oversized baking and broiling pan with fitted rack you could imagine. He said it was perfect for baking a bunch of bacon all at once, saving me from standing over a frying pan on the stove. And he was right. After more than 40 years together, that is true love in its best form.

So when you are considering a gift for your beloved this Valentine’s Day, think outside the red, heart-shaped box. If you do want to give a gift of candy, try putting it in a fancy egg cooker or fill a pretty pancake syrup pitcher. Flowers look great in some mason jars and you can include your favorite recipe for homemade jam.

Sweet thoughts to all.

Heather Ziegler can be reached via email at: