Valentines in Lexington: Alan and Kathy Stein, Cathleen and Brian Collins, Crystal...

Valentines in Lexington: Alan and Kathy Stein, Cathleen and Brian Collins, Crystal Wilkinson

Lexingtonians share Valentine stories


Valentine is a tricky holiday-one where conflicts frequently (but not always) break down along gender lines. To give an example, one well-meaning gent sent an email around this week (forwarded to Ace by a local chapter of Sweet Potato Queens) that suggests that men would like their own “Special Day”that the hearts and flowers of February 14 don’t cut it.

To that end, this men’s movement is suggesting that March 20 be declared “steak and a BJ” day. “No cards, no flowers, no special nights on the town.”

“This holiday has been created so you ladies can have a day to show your man just how much you love him.”

No word as to whether or not this has been put before the legislature, but rumors suggest it has been forwarded to the governor in hopes he might issue an “executive order.”

Of course, just as some romantics might suggest that “every day is Valentine’s Day” at their house-it seems just as plausible that every day is”March 20th” in the political arena.

Maybe we could all pause to give the stereotypes a rest.

Not all girls are about hearts and flowers. (And not all guys are about “steak and a bj…” Some are vegetarians.) Valentine’s Day was not actually hatched as a diabolical Machiavellian plot by women, in collusion with diamond brokers everywhere.

A special occasion here and there (whether it’s Mother’s Day, or Valentine’s, or birthdays and Christmas) shouldn’t necessarily be seen as a heaven-sent opportunity for us to renounce capitalism and the evil it fosters.

A thoughtful expression of devotion is welcome most any time, by most any gender-as long as it’s reciprocal and no restraining orders are in place.

As Crystal Wilkinson eloquently puts it, “Love your loved ones everyday.”

If you do that, 365 days a year, the odds are good that your life is already filled with relationships that won’t be made or broken based on the quality of dinner or trinkets you come up with on any holiday, from Kwanzaa to Mother’s Day and all the rest in between.

Of course, not many of us ordinary mortals fit into that camp of constant expressions of daily thoughtfulness and sensitivity-and in those cases, it behooves us to go the extra mile when an opportunity presents itself.


Lexington’s reigning Power Couple: Alan and Kathy Stein

Alan and Kathy Stein
photo by Forrest Payne

State legislator Kathy Stein tells us how an unexpected gesture (not that kinda gesture; get your minds outta the gutter) helped to take local “Legend” Alan Stein out of the bachelor rotation.

“I surprised the pants off Alan, (well, maybe not literally) on the first St. Valentine’s Day we were dating by sending a dozen gorgeous red roses to him at his office. Prior to meeting me a couple of months earlier, he had been quite an active bachelor in the community, but had never had a woman send him roses.

“But where it really gets fun for the Steins is St. Patrick’s Day. Stay tuned and we’ll share that rather odd tradition of how a Jewish family honors another Saint in March.”

Alan, the soul of brevity, wisely adds “I love my wife very much.”

The Lexington Legends kick off their season April 3, and the SAL All-Star game is June 24th.

Power Couple 2001: Brian and Cathleen Collins

Brian and Cathleen Collins

Cathleen turned over the gift of expression to Brian, who says, “Each Valentine’s Day morning, Cathleen and I take a peak at our driveway. I am hoping to see a new Lamborghini Murcielago wrapped in ribbon with a big red bow on top. Cathleen has the same wish-substituting a Jag for the LamboMAYBE THE EASTER BUNNY WILL OBLIGE….”

With the unabashed soul of a true romantic, Brian adds, “Every day is Valentine’s Day for us, so on February 14th, our celebrating is fairly low key. Red roses, a small gift, romantic dinner, and a card suffice. Just tokens to reinforce our undying love for each other.”

What’s in a date?: Tarp Ledford

Tarp Ledford is in the romance business (hooking people up as Cosmomix Event Coordinator), but he’s not sentimental about February 14, and is candid about the pressure it seems to put on the unattached. “Valentine’s Day is not nearly as important to those who are in love all year long. I think people get too caught up in the holiday. I hear more people (who do not have Valentine’s Dates) complaining of depression on Valentine’s than any other day of the year!”

Any day but Valentine’s: author Crystal Wilkinson

Crystal Wilkinson

Wilkinson reminisces, “I used to love it when my children were little and would give me little hand-made valentine gifts-that doesn’t happen anymore since they are growing up.”

As for her thoughts on February 14 these days, she adds, “I love it because it’s my mother’s birthday and I hate it because we are brainwashed by the gift card companies and the elves in the candy factories to believe that our loved ones don’t love us unless there is a gift, a dinner, a card, something!!! It’s just like Mother’s day, Easter, and all the other days we’ve commercialized to death…love your loved ones everyday…bring me roses anytime..just not on Valentine’s Day.”

Crystal Wilkinson’s latest book is Water Street. For her schedule of readings and book-signings, visit