I just noticed my last post was commenting on how warm it was in December. So much for that! Now that it’s barely above zero where I live, it feels like a real February. I’ve found this a depressing month since my dad died in February many years ago. But on this sub-zero Valentine’s Day, I decided there are reasons why February is a good month, too (in addition to my niece Judy’s birthday!)
- The days are finally starting to get longer. When you have a long commute via car or train the late sunrises and early sunsets of winter in the north make each day a little grimmer. I noticed last week that the sun was up before 7 a.m., hooray! And the angle of the sun has changed, so there’s a pool of warm sunlight for the cat to lie in by late morning, and again in the afternoon on the other side of the condo. So he’s happy, too.
- Some of us get a long weekend. Not everyone gets Presidents Day as a holiday, but for those of us who do, it’s a welcome break in the long winter dreariness, without having to use a vacation day. Any long weekend is a good thing, even if you don’t go anywhere special.
- Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about romance. I heard the other day that Valentine’s Day is the most popular day for pet adoption of the whole year! That’s a great way to show what love really means, by giving a home to a homeless pet. Also, we can all show some love to the other people in our lives who aren’t romantic partners. When I was younger I was sad if Valentine’s Day didn’t feature a date or a present, but now I like to think of all the kinds of love we give and get. As the Beatles song says, “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”
- It’s a short month, and it’s almost March. In the south, spring comes in March. Up here, not so much–we still have another month of cold and potential snow. But spring feels a lot closer than it did in December. I’m dreaming of forsythia and crocuses…
- I can’t think of another reason. But every good blogger knows that “five” and “seven” are magic numbers in blog post titles. So use your creativity and make up your own fifth reason. If it’s a good one, I’ll make it public.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Valentine’s Day has me thinking of hearts, flowers and candy–especially candy. I was ruined years ago with Belgian chocolate, not Godiva, but Neuhaus and other brands brought fresh from Brussels, with no preservatives, dark chocolate with real cream fillings so you had to eat them in a week or they would spoil. Even the shapes were beautiful, shells, hearts, sculptured curves. Ron would bring them back every time he went to Brussels or flew through the airport. As my admin assistant at that time said, “It’s hard to go back to Hershey’s when you’ve had this.”
Daddy was always fond of chocolate, but we never had anything like those Belgian chocolates when I was growing up. If times were good Mother got a Whitman’s sampler on Mother’s Day. Daddy’s favorites were chocolate-covered cherries. Mother always got him a box for Christmas, as well as chocolate drops filled with coconut. Uncle Floyd always gave us a tin of King Leo peppermint sticks for Christmas. Once Mother went through a fit of baking fancy cakes, and she made a heart-shaped cake for Valentine’s Day. I think she got the idea from Good Housekeeping magazine. Valentine’s Day was not a romantic date for my parents by the time I came along. I think having a fifth child at age 38 (her) and 40 (him) was enough for both of them.
Valentine’s Day was not a big occurance at my house, but it was fraught with anxiety in elementary school. In the second or third grade each student in my class had a paper bag to be their “Valentine mailbox,” and we were expected to slip valentines in to our friends’ boxes. Mother was adamant that I give valentines to the whole class. “Nobody should be left out,” she said. “It’s mean.” So I dutifully gave one to everybody. Most of the class did the same thing, having equally strict mothers. But there was always some child too poor to buy the boxes of cheap valentines, even the punch-out kind. I felt embarrassed and ashamed for the kid. And we each were acutely aware of who in the class got the most valentines–usually some little blond girl.
Our school did not have the elaborate cupcakes, cookies and decorations that became prevalent a generation later. I just remember those funny candies with the sayings on them like “Be Mine.”
After I grew up, Valentine’s Day became more of a ritual. The boyfriend took me out for dinner, brought me flowers, maybe candy, maybe some small piece of jewelry. We drank champagne. We swept any issues under the carpet and had a romantic evening.
Those days are behind me now. But I still like the flowers. Maybe I’ll pick up some the day after Valentine’s Day, when the prices go down!