Every day is Valentine's Day for some Columbia County families.
Take John and Denise Valentine, of Harlem, who will be celebrating today as they do every year. Married for 28 years, with two sons and three grandchildren, he said he still does special things for his Valentine each Feb. 14.
"I feed her breakfast in the mornings while she's still in bed, because I always get up early in the morning," said Valentine, who works in maintenance at Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center.
"I also take her out to dinner and bring her some candy," which he said is typically sugar-free chocolate-covered cherries. "And every once in a while I'll get her flowers."
But Valentine doesn't need to buy her jewelry on the special day. That's because she makes her own out of sterling silver.
"My husband always teases me that he gave me the name Valentine for Valentine's Day, and he didn't have to give me anything" - but that excuse doesn't work, she said.
There are at least three other families in Columbia County bearing the same last name. Valentine isn't the only romantic surname in the county, either. The county has at least 10 families named Love, about 14 Roses, at least two Sweets and at least one Candy.
Miguel Valentin, the director of Columbia County's Engineering and Environmental Services department, whose last name is the Spanish version of Valentine, said he has a greater tolerance each February for the common mispronunciation of his surname.
"I do get some special attention around this time of year in restaurants and such business establishments because of the name," he said. "Although no one has offered me a discount, yet."
Valentin said there is another advantage to his last name when it comes to crowded restaurants.
"Well, when I make dinner reservations this time of year, I find that they are much more likely to remember," he said.
Though John and Denise Valentine said they don't often encounter comical situations because of their last name, one Valentine's Day sticks out in their minds.
"We went out looking for a car three years ago and it happened to be Valentine's Day. We didn't plan it," Denise said. "The guy who was doing up the contract got this weird look on his face and his eyes got real wide and he said, 'Did y'all do this on purpose?'"
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