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AMY KIRK: No need for fancy dinner: There's love on the ranch

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life Mitchell, 57301
The Daily Republic
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Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

Like millions of other couples on Valentine's Day, my husband and I look forward to spending it lovingly together; similarly to most of our other days together. Unlike normal couples we will not partake in the ever-popular Valentine's Day dinner date.

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We've found that participating in such an activity on Feb. 14 is quite frankly, a little stupid. It's not our thing to force a romantic evening at a frenzied restaurant filled with other couples also waiting to experience a romantic atmosphere when we're highly anticipating a meal for such a popular occasion such as suppertime.

Our previous attempts have ended up being occasions that least resembled one for celebrating love. Leaving our peaceful, quiet home for a romantic dinner on Valentine's Day has never been an experience we remember as being enjoyable, relaxing or remotely romantic.

To begin with, trying to be ready in a timely manner after months of being out of practice fixing hair, wearing makeup, or selecting a nice outfit always took me longer to get ready and created a delay that led my husband to wait in the vehicle.

The few times we tried this particular Valentine's Day adventure it quickly lost its appeal; first with an attempt to find a parking spot within city limits close to the restaurant hundreds of other couples also chose.

Once inside, the overstimulation of chaos to our simple country minds further deteriorated a romantic evening. Tension replaced relaxation caused by our hunger, aggravation, and having to wait for an express-cooked dinner that we felt pressured into eating quickly so others could have our table. We did not have enough time to start up an engaging conversation, or one that we could hear each other.

Nope, my Valentine and I will observe Valentine's Day this year as we have for several years now, on the Kirk ranch because we enjoy each other's company and want to keep it that way.

About five years ago, I learned that men have another definition for romance; one in which they consider doing "guy stuff" with their wives to be romantic. I discovered this tidbit in the book, "For Women Only," by Shaunti Feldhahn.

This revelation changed my perspective on romance and eliminated disappointments that used to be a part of Valentine's Day. Our unconventional Valentine's Day romance option is preferred now over going out.

I'm looking forward to doing ranch chores and checking over our cows for potential calvers (since our calving season is nearing) on Valentine's Day knowing that doing "guy stuff" with my husband is romantic to him.

I do plan on combing my hair, maybe dab on some makeup, and dress up in a clean hooded sweatshirt. I'll slip into something comfortable like my Polar King coveralls, and Carhartt chore coat, and fancy new overshoes and know that grabbing a pitchfork and feed bucket on Valentine's Day will mean something different: romance.

We'll be able to talk freely and have a conversation in which we can linger over our coffee and Cheerios, yet still hear each other over the crunching noise as we eat. On Valentine's Day evening we may even engage in other "guy stuff," like have a beer.

We'll save the "going out" part for an occasion when normal people stay home. It may seem backwards but we're country people and we do have a reputation to uphold.

Amy Kirk and her husband raise their two kids on a fourth-generation cow/calf operation near Pringle. She blogs at ranchwifeslant.areavoices. com.

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