The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

February 14, 2011

Warm weather cooks up Valentine’s Day meal

JOPLIN, Mo. — Shaun Steele didn’t know exactly what he wanted to do for Valentine’s Day — until he went outside.

“I knew I wanted to cook something, but I didn’t know if it would be lunch or dinner,” said Steele, a postal worker and waiter at Club 609 in Joplin. “I thought I wanted to go outside, and it just worked out that the weather was so nice. It was a beautiful day.”

Warmer weather inspired a Valentine’s Day meal at Spiva Park. Steele and his valentine, Christy Zuroweste, dined on the platform above the park’s fountain. Steele had notions about packing a picnic, but melting snow meant that they couldn’t sit on the ground, he said.

So he improvised a plan involving the park situated across the street from Zuroweste’s employer, the U.S. bank location at Fourth and Main streets.

“He called me on my mobile phone and said to come out the front door,” Zuroweste said. “Then he said to come to the park.”

That’s where Zuroweste found a linen-covered table, flowers, champagne and a meal made by Steele: clam linguine with tomatoes, basil and goat cheese. The meal caught her completely by surprise, she said.

The meal went without a hitch, Steele said. During the meal, occupants in passing cars shouted in celebration.

It was the couple’s second Valentine’s Day. They started dating more than a year ago. They enjoy going to see live music, traveling and finding adventure where they can.

“We knew each other before that, but started doing stuff together,” Steele said. “We saw a few bands together, started hanging out.”

The couple said they didn’t know what else they would do for the traditional celebration of love. But Zuroweste said Steele’s plan was already a great, romantic repast.

“I’m in a pretty good mood,” she said. “I had to send a text or two to my friends at work. I’m sure a few were looking out the windows.”

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