Valentine’s Day 2002, was on a Thursday, just like this year. I don’t think Jean has had a Valentine’s Day date with me since then.

That was the week I created my alter ego, Billy Bob Bohannon, to perform at a banquet at the church where I served as pastor. I couldn’t have ever imagined back then, that seventeen years later I would still be doing Billy Bob programs. Every year since that humble beginning, Valentine’s week has been one of my busiest of the year. Each year Jean gets her usual bouquet of tulips (she prefers them over roses,) but she does not get me on the actual date of romantic dinner dates. That’s because many churches have a banquet on Valentines, so I’m usually not home on the actual date. Jean and I have usually gone out for our special date either a day or two before, or a day or two after, the actual day. After all, it’s just a date on the calendar. A special time together with the one we love is what really matters, whenever that happens.

This year Valentines fell on a Thursday again. I did not accept any invitations for that night. I informed my alter ego that he would be home on Valentines this year, because I was taking my sweetheart out on a date, on the actual date. This would not be a McDonalds or Krystal kind of night. A buffet place would not do. I envisioned a nice meal in a fancy restaurant, with candle lights, real silver, and stemmed glasses filled with iced tea. A week before Valentines, I called to make reservations at one of our favorite upscale restaurants in Opelika. I thought a week in advance would be plenty early enough. I thought wrong. My friend, who is the chef at the restaurant, said, “Bill we are booked solid until nine.” That’s only one hour before my normal bedtime! I said, “Nine O’Clock?” I hoped I had misunderstood. He said, “If you want to wait and come on Friday or Saturday night you can have your pick of time.” Here we go again. Saturday night was not possible because I had a banquet scheduled for then, as well as Sunday night. I said, “Okay, put us down for Friday. We’ll wait until 6:00 to eat!” Have you noticed that the older we get, the earlier we eat dinner?

So another Valentines evening not celebrated out. Jean stopped at one of the local chicken finger places on her way home from work and brought dinner home. She did get her tulips. Grilled chicken fingers, turnip greens, sweet potato souffle, and tulips! Friday came and we went out for that nice meal - on our usual after Valentine’s date. I guess it’s simply not meant to be.

Saturday came and I left; headed for Sand Mountain. I had the privilege of doing a program that evening at Union Grove Baptist Church in Albertville. I stayed over and spoke in the morning service on Sunday. They got both of me; Billy Bob and Bill. Sunday afternoon I loaded up and headed to Pisgah Baptist Church, in Pisgah, for a Sunday evening banquet. I had a delightful time at both places.

Well, there’s always next year, I think. Next year, Valentines should fall on a Friday. Hey Jean, how about a date on Thursday?

Things don’t always go as we have planned. Didn’t the Bible say something about this? James said, “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city....whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow.”

— Bill King is a native of Rainsville, where he and his wife graduated from Plainview High School. King is a director of missions in Opelika, a writer, musician and author. His column appears in the Times-Journal Thursdays. Visit brobillybob.com for more information.

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