Times change but love endures
There are plenty of ways to say I love you. So, with Valentines Day just around the corner, The Mirror decided to take a look at what area men are planning for their sweethearts.
Though Tonganoxie veterinarian Kyle LaRosh hadn't yet made definite plans on how to celebrate Valentine's Day with his wife, Denise, his comments alone should win high marks.
"Every day with my wife is special, so every day is like Valentine's Day with her," LaRosh said.
He and Denise, who teaches at Tonganoxie Junior High School, were married in 1998.
"We haven't decided on what we're going to do yet -- it depends on what day of the week it is," LaRosh added.
This year, Valentine's Day falls on a Monday, which means that the Rev. Rick Lamb and his wife, Becky, likely will celebrate on another day.
That's because Lamb is a member of the Tonganoxie school board, which meets the second Monday night of every month.
But clearly, the Lambs will have their special Valentine's time.
"Ever since we've been married -- 28 years plus -- we've gone on a date every Friday night," Lamb said. "When we had young children, every other week we would go out with the children, and every other week by ourselves."
Their dates didn't have to be extravagant.
"When we were younger and broke, we might just go to McDonald's -- or take a drive," Lamb said.
Two years ago, Keyta Kelly gave her husband, Mike Kelly, a special Valentine's gift.
She gave him a kidney.
Since then, Mike has felt better than ever.
To celebrate last Valentine's Day, the first anniversary of the kidney transplant, the couple traveled to Chicago for the weekend.
And this year, too, it's likely something special will happen.
"Every day is like Valentine's Day," he said.
Everyone knows florists are busy on Valentine's Day.
That's why Calvin Quisenberry said his wife, Susan, appreciates a quiet, albeit pampered, evening at home.
"I try to cook her supper or things like that -- something special," Quisenberry said. "It probably involves a backrub, too, since she's so tired from arranging flowers all day."
He noted that florists usually spend four or five days filling all their Valentine orders.
"It's terribly stressful for them," Quisenberry said.
Flowers and cards
Jim Gambrill said he'll take his significant other -- Terry Chop -- out for Valentine's dinner at one of their favorite restaurants.
For the couple -- he manages B&J Country Mart and she manages B&J Amoco -- Valentine's is a busy day.
"There will be people running in here at 6 o'clock. We'll still be selling flowers," Gambrill said. "Flowers and Valentine's cards."
Bill and Loris New will celebrate their 41st wedding anniversary next Wednesday.
"We have a unique situation," New said. "We combine the two and go out for dinner somewhere -- maybe with a little special remembrance of some sort."
Last year, the couple took a belated Valentines/anniversary trip to Puerto Rico.
In his business -- New is a banker by day and a cattle rancher by night -- traveling at this time of year is tricky.
"I'll be checking for baby calves," New said. "And we have to work in those other important things along the way."
Dinner for two
For Matt and Vicki Bichelmeyer, owners of Bichelmeyer's Steakhouse in downtown Tonganoxie, Valentine's Day is especially busy. It's a busy night at the restaurant.
So the couple save their special time for later. That could include the traditional chocolates, flowers, romantic care -- and more.
"A lot of times I'll wait till we're closed," Bichelmeyer said. "Then I'll fix her dinner and we'll kind of have the whole restaurant to ourselves."
The party continues
On Sunday, Walter Lee and Nila Denholm, celebrated their 40th anniversary at an open house arranged by their children. Monday night, after working all day, they'd just settled down to open their anniversary cards.
The couple's Valentine's day plans were, essentially, made for them this year.
"It's on our senior citizen meeting," Nila said. "So we'll be down there Monday evening for the senior citizen dinner."
Chances are, Brad LeDuc will cook up something special for his fiance, Candace Hochard, on Valentine's Day.
But whatever he does, it'll be hard to top the level of creativity he displayed last month when he proposed to her.
Knowing that Candace, her mother and her aunt, planned to watch an Elvis impersonator show at Golden Eagle Casino, LeDuc, an art teacher at McLouth High School, said he was going to stay at home.
But instead, LeDuc, who is 27, rented an Elvis costume and attended the event in disguise.
He even brought a Polaroid camera so that after the event he could offer to have his photo taken with Candace -- part of the charade.
Before LeDuc arrived, he thought his costume looked pretty good.
"'Til I saw those Elvis impersonators. Some of them probably looked better than Elvis himself," LeDuc said. "I figured out pretty quickly that I probably looked pretty trashy."
Candace's mother, who was in on the plans, directed Candace over to LeDuc to have her photo taken with Elvis.
"She figured out who I was," LeDuc said.
Next, he invited her to ride along with him, as the women had planned to stop at another casino.
"As we were walking out of the casino, I had rented a limo, and there was a limo driver with a sign that said 'LeDuc,'" LeDuc said. "I had brought a suitcase that I had my camera and other stuff in. I was on my knee to get into my suitcase. I pulled out a ring, and sang a little Elvis song to her, with different words."
Then, LeDuc asked Candace to marry him. She said yes.
Next, the limo driver turned the sign over, showing these words: "The future Mr. and Mrs. LeDuc."
Then the entourage, including his mother, as well as Candace's mother and aunt, hopped into the limo and went to Lawrence to celebrate.
The couple plan to marry July 23 in McLouth.
Even now, LeDuc is a little awed by his zany proposal.
"I would never have guessed that I would have proposed to my future wife at a casino dressed as Elvis," LeDuc said, chuckling.
And now with Valentine's Day just around the corner, LeDuc is plotting again.
"I'm actually a little bit of a procrastinator, so I normally try to pull things out of my hat a few days before," LeDuc said. "I'm sure we'll have hopefully just a romantic evening."
And the couple have figured out a way to circumvent the fact that Valentine's Day falls on a Monday.
"We were debating whether to go out Sunday night or Monday night, or both," LeDuc said.
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