We asked guests of The Voice-Tribune Kickoff at Napa River Grill with Woodford Reserve to share their best or worst Valentine’s Day memories with us. Some stories are sweet, others are sour, but they are all memories to be savored. —Tonya Abeln
“My wife had arranged a Valentine’s Day weekend at The Seelbach. We sat in the smoking section at The Oak Room since this was back when that was still an option in restaurants. I don’t smoke cigarettes, but I thought it would be nice to have a cigar with an after dinner drink. People started complaining and the server asked me to put it out. I said, ‘Isn’t this the smoking section? I’ve been dealing with everyone’s cigarette smoke throughout the entire meal.’ Eventually they had the head maître d’ approach me to tell me to put it out. At this point, it had ruined our dining experience so we went to the room. I let them know I was unhappy and was introduced to Chef Jim Gebhardt who was very kind and apologetic. The next morning, an enormous breakfast spread arrived at our room compliments of the chef. Then, when we went to check out, we were told that everything had been taken care of by Chef Gebhardt. We have remained great friends with Jim for years following that.” —Tom Gorter with his wife, Vaneda.
“My wife arranged for us to spend Valentine’s Day at Biltmore Hotel in Asheville. She had thoughtfully purchased her own rose petals and arranged them on the bed. Apparently, they had been dyed because they ended up turning the $300 white sheets red! I tipped house cleaning to keep it between us.” —Tom Waller
“One year, for Valentine’s Day, I had three dates: One was for cocktails, the next was for dinner and the last was a dessert date. I guess I saved the best for last because I ended up marrying my dessert date. That was 31 years ago.” —Ceal Vish with her husband, Dale.
“My late husband and I traveled abroad to pick up our son that we were adopting. It was the second time we were going to see him and it happened to fall on Valentine’s Day. What better way to spend that holiday than discovering this person that would end up being one of the true loves of my life.” —Teia Garner showing a picture of her son, Jimmy.
“I got married two days after Valentine’s Day and it was one year to the day after the first date with my husband.”
“I once got fired for from a job on Valentine’s Day.” —Pam Ritter
“I started dating my husband in 1964 when we were 16. We had saved our money to go to a nice restaurant for Valentine’s Day. It was Stouffer’s Top of the Tower (what is now Wayside Mission). We were both so nervous that we wouldn’t know how to behave in the such a fancy restaurant. We spent so much time worrying about how to act and then someone stole our umbrella while we were there.” —Svea Allgeier with her husband, Ron.
Photos by Bill Wine