On January 2, 1979, Ron Kramer, who worked as an insurance salesman in Albuquerque, New Mexico, knocked on Donna’s front door.
Little did they know that this encounter would lead to a lifetime of happiness together and a Valentine’s Day tradition they’ve kept for 39 years.
In 1979, Ron worked as an insurance salesman.
One day in January 1979, Ron knocked on a front door and was greeted by a woman wearing a bathrobe and Big Bird slippers.
“He saw me first in my quilted bathrobe. I was really sexy!” Donna told KOAT. “And what did I have on my feet? Oh yeah, Big Bird slippers.”
Although Donna hinted that the first outfit Ron saw her in could have been better, it left a good impression on him because shortly after he returned to her home and asked her on a date.
After knocking on Donna’s door, Ron returned and asked her on a date.
The two began to date and shortly before Valentine’s Day Ron asked Donna if she liked chocolate.
“She says, ‘Yes! I like dark chocolate cremes and I like it from Buffet’s candy,'” Ron recalled.
So, he went to Buffet’s Candies and purchased the dark chocolate creme candy Donna said she liked.
Ron bought Donna a box of chocolates for their first Valentine’s Day.
While at the candy store one of the employees informed him that if he brought the heart-shaped box back the following year, he would only be charged for the candy he purchased. After their first Valentine’s Day together he put the box away for safe keeping.
In 1980, Ron returned to Buffet’s with the box and purchased dark chocolate creme candy for his Valentine.
And he continued the tradition even through some of life’s most difficult moments, like when Donna suffered a stroke and when she battled breast cancer, not once, but twice.
The couple has been married since May 1979.
This year marked 39 years of chocolates.
As the tradition continues it means even more to Ron, not only because the couple is so close to hitting another decade, but because Ron isn’t sure how much longer Donna will remember the meaning of the chocolates.
In 2014, his wife was diagnosed with dementia and the following year she had to move into a nursing home. Ron called it “the saddest day of my life.”
Even though Donna has been in a nursing home for the past few years, Ron has still kept with the tradition.
Although Donna now lives in a nursing home, Ron spends as much time with her as possible. According to ABC News he’s only missed visiting with her three days since August 2015, and those days were when he visited his 96-year-old aunt in Nebraska.
Ron knows Donna’s condition will get worse with time, but for now he’s enjoying the time they spend together while she enjoys her annual box of chocolate.
“That’s why I’m going to keep him. He’s a keeper,” Donna told KOAT. “I married him years ago, and I love him as much today as I did then.”