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Valentine’s Day Contest Winner

Editor’s note: Karen Jaime is the winner of the Tribune’s Valentine’s Day essay contest. Here is her story.

For those of you who have small children, you know romance is hard to come by. Our children were just a year apart. My husband and I were always so exhausted. Sleep deprivation won hands-down at bedtime. There were some days when the boys were very young, I never even got out of my P.J.s. I had to think if I had brushed my teeth! My darling husband never complained. Every now and then he would jokingly ask, “If I might be taking a shower anytime soon!” In his heart he was a happy man. He loved his wife and children more than words could say.

Once I went back to work we were on opposite shifts. I worked days and he worked nights. One of us was always with the boys. As a result, we never saw much of each other – except when we had the “changing of the guard.”



Valentine’s Day was always special to us. It was the one day we made time for ourselves.

I really wanted this year to be different. Going out for a romantic dinner was wonderful, but this year I just wanted to have a quiet evening alone – but where?




This particular Valentine’s Day we both had the day off. My husband gave me his credit card, told me to go into town and get a pretty red dress. I was off on my mission.

I found a great dress. I also picked up a sexy little nightie and a pair of silk boxers for him. I had the clerk wrap the boxers with a big red bow.

I knew I didn’t have much time. I had to work fast, so that I didn’t arouse any suspicion.

On my way home I swung into the El Bonita Motel and checked into a room. After a quick survey of the situation I went to work. I was going to turn this little motel room into our Love Den!

I had the maid bring in an extra chair that I could use at the desk for our romantic “table for two.”

I headed for our favorite deli to pick up some of their specialties.

As I drove by the house I noticed my husband’s car gone. He must be at the park with the boys. This was my opportunity to run in and grab a few romantic touches. I got all the candles I could find, white tablecloth and napkins, champagne glasses, good china and silver, and of course, our box with a handful of our favorites. I stopped by the stationery store and bought the largest piece of red posterboard I could find.

Back at the motel, I completed my task. The final touch was a large red heart hung over the bed, “I Love You” written in bold print.

I headed home to find my little men all napping from their exhausting afternoon at the park. I joined them for awhile – but I was too excited to rest.

It was time to get ready for our evening out. My husband looked so handsome in his black slacks and black silk shirt. This was also the only time he wore aftershave. He knew I loved the sweet smell.

The sitter arrived. We told her we would be home by midnight and we were off.

I asked my husband if I could drive. I had a special stop to make. I pulled into the El Bonita; he was a bit confused. I asked him to wait in the car. I ran in and lit all the candles. Returning to the car, I escorted him to the door. It now strikes me I should of had him carry me over the threshold.

He was totally surprised. I even believe he had a tear in his eye.

It was a wonderful romantic evening I will never forget.

The witching hour came upon us. It was time to pack up and head for home. On our arrival, all was well – the sitter fast asleep on the sofa, the children all nestled in their beds.

Two months later, on April 18, 1996, my wonderful loving husband was taken to heaven. We shared 16 Valentine’s Days together. This was our last and most special.

If I win the essay contest, I have no one to share the romantic dinner with, but maybe it would be all right to bring my darling boys. They are my sweethearts now. The roses would be very nice. I don’t get flowers much anymore.

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