Something Different for Your Valentine

By Keith Rugg | Tuesday, February 2, 2021
valentine candy and vase

It’s been a year since I wrote about places in Reno to shop for chocolates in preparation for Valentine’s Day. And it was a popular post; if you search on Google for Reno Chocolate Valentine it’s the first entry that comes up at the top of the page. So if you’re thinking about sweets for your sweetie on the upcoming holiday, you can check in on that blog post. And who could blame you? Chocolate is practically the universal symbol of “How do I love thee?” But for those who might want to mix it up a little bit this year, here are some gift ideas that are somewhat further off the beaten path. Photo at left: Pixabay, Jill Wellington.

valentine's flowersFor inspiration, I turn southward to the University of Nevada Las Vegas, to history professor Elizabeth White Nelson’s book, Market Sentiments: Middle-Class Market Culture in 19th-Century America. Along with a whole bunch of other really interesting history of the holiday, Nelson notes that prior to the 1900s, Valentine’s Day was mostly about going steady with someone and about exchanging gifts. Instead of candies and flowers, it seems that the traditional presents were – drumroll, please – gloves and spoons. No, really. Photo at right: Pixabay, Gabriele Lasser.

baseball glove with ballOkay, let’s start with gloves. You’ve got your winter gloves  can’t go wrong with those. How about driving gloves, and a visit to the National Automobile Museum downtown? Or for the farmer/rancher in your life, a nice set of leather work gloves. (But if you do decide to give work gloves, you’re not likely to score any points in the romance department. Don’t ask me how I know that.) May I suggest, however, that if you choose to make it a glove-themed Valentine’s Day, you might want to consider the great American pastime that fits right in with hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet, and go with a baseball glove. Because, that’s right, it was announced in December that in 2021, the Reno Aces will still be the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. It wasn’t entirely unexpected that we would keep our baseball team, but on the other hand, it wasn’t set in stone, either; the number of minor-league baseball teams was cut this year to 120, down from 160 in 2019. And we already lost Reno 1868 FC, the soccer team that shared the Greater Nevada field with the Aces, despite them doing well consistently season after season. Swinging back around to the main point, you can celebrate both the return of pro-baseball and the Valentine holiday in one fell swoop by giving an Aces baseball glove. (Yup, I checked, they do have them in the online Aces gear shop. You’ve got to check under the Novelties tab.) Photo at left: Pixabay, Stan Balik. 

fishing lureOnward to the spoons. The obvious choice would be one of those souvenir spoons of the Biggest Little City, the kind that looks as if it is a demitasse spoon with a crest or shield set into the end of the handle. And if your significant other is into that sort of thing, you can find one online or in the antique and souvenir shops downtown. As for me, I was thinking of an entirely different kind of spoon, but one that has just as strong of a connection to the area (at least for those of us with fishing on our minds). A spoon fishing lure can be just as pretty as any flower and just as sparkly as any jewelry. For those who have never cast one out into the water, a spoon is a small, flat-ish piece of metal, roughly the size and shape of the bowl of a spoon. (Funny how that works out, huh?) One end of it fastens to your line and the other end has a hook, and the whole thing is designed to attract a fish into biting. My friend, outdoor writer Andy McKean, wrote in Outdoor Life a few years back that the spoon is “one of the best lures of all time,” and since he’s forgotten more woodcraft and outdoorsmanship than I’ll ever learn, I’m certainly not going to dispute it. And just think of all the romantic puns you can write in the card that accompanies this gift! “You’re quite a catch!” “You hooked me, Valentine!” “I’m angling to win your heart!” “I fell for you hook, line and sinker!” The sheer possibilities are making me downright giddy. Photo at right: Wikimedia Commons, Hubert Derus.

By all means, don’t just reject the chocolates and the flowers out of hand. But if you are up for a little bit of change, don’t be afraid to make 2021 the year of Gloves and Spoons.

About the Author Keith Rugg
R. Keith Rugg has worked on staff for a number of local publications, including Lake Tahoe Action Magazine, the Tahoe Daily Tribune and the Reno Gazette-Journal.