If we think of the calendar in relationship to holidays, on Monday we will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, although today is the actual day of his birth. King was a Baptist minister most known for his leadership during the civil rights movement in the 1960s. He worked tirelessly in his efforts to bring about a peaceful unification of the races in our country. Sadly, he was assassinated in 1968, and the struggle is still real in this country today. Let this holiday remind us that we all need to work together for the preservation of our perfect union here in the United States.

The next holiday would definitely be the holiday for lovers all over the world, Valentine’s Day. When I think of Valentine’s Day, I think of the first date I ever had with a man. That date was not when I was an awkward, pimply-faced teenager, it was when I was only 4 years old and with the first man in my life, my dad.

My parents were to go to a wedding reception of two people who were some of their best friends. My brother came down with a severe case of strep throat, and my mom decided it was best if she stayed home and I would be my dad’s date. She dressed me in a pink taffeta dress, lace anklets and patent leather shoes. Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome (my dad) whisked me away into the night to a great hall that looked like nothing I had ever seen before in my short life. This was my first memory. There were white linen table cloths, flowers and candle centerpieces on each table and large chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. A night to remember.

As anyone can tell, this is one of my favorite memories of my childhood. My dad and mom will be married 59 years this June 14. They have taught me by example and have helped make me who I am today.

My date with my dad always reminds me of a very popular event this time of year here in Portage. Yes, it’s time for the Portage Parks and Recreation Department’s Daddy-Daughter Dance from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 10 in the Oakwood Hall of Woodland Park, 2100 Willowcreek Road. Doors will open at 5 p.m. for early check-in and photos.

The cost of the dance for daddy and his special girl(s) is $40 a couple and $15 for each additional daughter. The evening includes a lovely dinner, beverages, dessert, entertainment, a beautiful corsage for each young lady and a memoir photo. This event is for dads and daughters only, and there is an additional $10 nonresident fee.

This dance always sells out every year, and space is limited to 360 people. The Parks Department cannot accommodate any exceptions to that detail once all the spots are filled. So contact the Parks Department today to reserve your spots for a date that will undoubtedly leave a lasting memory in your daughter’s mind for the rest of her years to come.

This column solely represents the writer’s opinion.

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