For the past 39 years, Ron Kramer hasn’t let anything stop him from celebrating the same Valentine’s Day tradition with his wife.
In January 1979, the young insurance salesman from Albuquerque, New Mexico, began dating Donna.
In an interview with KOAT, the couple told the story of how Ron arrived at his future wife’s door.
“He saw me first in my quilted bathrobe. I was really sexy,” joked Donna.
“And what did you have on your feet?” Ron asked.
“Oh yeah, Big Bird slippers,” his wife recalled.
The couple started dating, and about a month into their relationship, Ron asked Donna if she would like chocolates for Valentine’s Day.
“She says, ‘Yes! I like dark chocolate cremes and I like it from Buffet’s candy,’” Ron said.
When he went to purchase the candies, Buffet’s made Kramer a special offer — if he returned the following year with the same box, they would refill it, and only charge him for the candy.
Ron held the store to its promise, returning year after year. He has kept up the tradition for 39 years.
“We’re just thrilled to have a long-term relationship with him,” the manager of Buffet’s flagship Albuquerque store said in a statement to The Western Journal.
Meanwhile, the couple married just five months after they met. Ron, now 77, has continued to keep his heart-shaped box hidden, and retrieves it once a year.
As the years go by, the Kramers’ tradition has become more and more important to keep up, especially after Donna was diagnosed with dementia in 2014.
“She couldn’t write, she couldn’t speak, she couldn’t go to the restroom, she couldn’t do anything by herself,” Ron said. “She had to go into a home in August of 2015. And that was probably the saddest day of my life.”
Clearly emotional, he explained that his wife’s memory is failing.
“She’s going to forget — she’s going to forget who I am,” he said. “So enjoy every minute you can have with them while they still remember you,” Ron advised.
Despite the dementia, Donna still remembers the Valentine’s tradition.
When told by KOAT reporter Megan Cruz that she is a “lucky lady,” Donna replied, “I know.”
“I know I am. That’s why I’m going to keep him. He’s a keeper,” she said. “I married him years ago and I love him as much today as I did then.”
And Ron has no plans to end his the yearly tradition.
While he visited Buffet’s this year, a store employee told him, “We’ll see you next year.”
“You bet you will. We’re not done with this box,” he replied.
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