CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Women are generally viewed as being all about the romance, but I know some men who deserve recognition.
Last Valentine's Day, for instance, my boyfriend had roses and a gorgeous watch delivered to me at my office. While I, who has not a smidgen of smooth, sent him a box of steaks and a card that said, "Nothing says love quite like a dead cow."
In search of inspiration for something romantic this year, I posted a request on Facebook for Valentine's stories. And was surprised to find men had the most touching tales.
One of my favorites came from fellow writer Michael Knost, who works as the marketing director for Thornhill Automotive (and was the 2010 winner of the Bram Stoker Award) in Chapmanville.
Wrote Knost: "This Valentine's Day, my wife and I celebrate 22 years together. We also celebrate the releasing of our 22nd balloon."
Michael and his girlfriend -- now his wife -- had only been dating a few weeks when Valentine's Day rolled around.
"I brought flowers, candy and a card for her. She bought a rose and a huge helium-filled balloon for me."
The two met up in the parking lot of a local grocery store prior to going out to eat, and while there, "She handed me the rose and balloon, except I thought the balloon's string was tied to the rose, and she thought I had a hold of the string and rose. We both watched helplessly as the balloon rose slowly out of sight."
Knost strategically selected that moment to ask Jennifer to be his girlfriend. She said yes.
"Every Valentine's Day since, we have made our way to a grocery store parking lot to release a balloon into the sky."
Their tradition turned a blunder into a celebrated moment.
Even though circumstances over the years often left them pinched for time, they've always made a special effort to continue their tradition.
"In 1999, balloon #7 was released in the middle of a hectic week of packing as we were moving from one city to another," Knost wrote. "Balloon #6 was the first released outside our native state of West Virginia. And on Feb. 13, 1996, my wife's father passed away after only one week in the hospital. The next day, we tearfully released balloon #4."
This Valentine's Day, Knost and his wife will have to hit the supermarket parking lot early, since he's scheduled to have a book-release party that same day for his novel, "Return of the Mothman," at the Charleston Town Center Mall Books A Million from 6 to 8:30 p.m.