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What do you get for your Valentine?

My wife’s words surprised me.

Made me chuckle, too.

“Honey,” Sherri said the other night. “I don’t know what to get you for Valentine’s Day.”

Don’t worry about it, I told her. Just having you in my life is the only gift I really want.

Or something mushy like that.

She rolled her eyes.

Then I started thinking about what she said.

Am I being set up?

Hmmm.

That was the educated opinion of several male colleagues who have been married much longer than yours truly.

Our first anniversary is a couple of months off.

To celebrate the milestone, we were considering a week in Maui until we found out we’d have to take out another mortgage to pay for it.

Or hit the Lotto -- finally.

Loading up on more original Hawaiian shirts at Hilo Hattie will have to wait.

St. Augustine, here we come.

Anyway, what to do about Valentine’s Day?

I’d had it in mind, regardless of any subtle cues from my wife.

Of course, I just hadn’t done anything on it yet.

Sound familiar?

Well, there are flowers.

But I get those for Sherri every weekend.

Did that long before we got married.

No kidding.

I love it when her mom told her after we got engaged, “Once you’re married, the flowers will stop. Just wait.”

They haven’t stopped yet.

I always get a kick out of the spontaneous reaction flowers trigger -- and I don’t mean just from Sherri.

Invariably, the women cashiers say, “Oh, for me? You shouldn’t have.”

The guys go, “OK, what’d you do?”

I got that one Saturday from a crew on a fire truck that pulled up next to me at the light on U.S. 301 and State Road 70 and spotted the bouquet.

When I told them it was a regular delivery, they gave me a thumbs up.

“Smart man!” they shouted.

Actually, it offsets some of the stupid stuff I’m guilty of that draws admonishment at home.

To wit:

“I just cleaned that floor!”

“Close the door!”

“You leave your Crocs everywhere!”

The one I like, though, is:

“You’re just like my father.”

It’s actually a compliment about my predilection for westerns and war documentaries when I commandeer the TV remote at night.

So, what to do about Valentine’s Day?

There’s always jewelry.

Ice is nice, but mind the price.

Especially after you’ve already bought something expensive at Christmas time.

Which is what I did for Sherri.

You should’ve heard her when she got a look at that credit card bill.

Whoa!

Maybe we’ll just enjoy a nice dinner somewhere romantic.

Probably should’ve made reservations two weeks ago, though.

I’ll figure something out.

At least I’m not under the gun like another male colleague.

His wife’s maiden name?

It’s Valentine.

Mannix About Manatee, by columnist Vin Mannix, is about people and issues in Manatee County. Please call Vin Mannix at 745-7055, write him at Bradenton Herald, P.O. Box 921, Bradenton, FL. 34206 or e-mail him at vmannix@bradenton.com.

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