Valentine's Day 2020

There are parties in the preschool. Yesterday and today are set aside for Valentine’s Day parties for the three- and four-year-olds. It was fun to see the children with their Valentine’s boxes. I remember making Valentine’s boxes when we were kids. The trick was to find a good shoebox, and since I grew up in a family with lots of kids there were usually plenty of shoe boxes, but just like shoes, shoe boxes come in different sizes. The king and most sought-after, of course were the boxes in which our dad brought home his Red Wing boots. I got those boxes at least a couple of times during my elementary school career. Having a bigger box didn’t affect the amount of goodies you took home because in my school every kid prepared a Valentine for every other kid in his or her class and there were only a few who decorated their cards with candy hearts. The edible treats were usually distributed by parents who volunteered for the party. The big box simply gave you more real estate for decorations and when it comes to cutting hearts out of paper doilies, bigger is easier than smaller. Fold the paper in half and cut a single curve and “voila!” a heart. The fact that real human hearts are only vaguely shaped that way doesn’t matter.

I think that Valentine’s Day celebrations were reserved to the last half hour of a regular school day and although some of the kids might remember to wear red, there wasn’t much more to the celebration than a cupcake and a few minute to insert cards into the slots in the boxes. Some of my friends just got a stack of cards from the store, signed each one and randomly put them into the various boxes. My mother made us address each card to a specific individual, which meant that we had to match names with the boxes before inserting them. That took a bit longer.

The party at the preschool featured cookies, crackers, cheese and pepperoni and a few small candies.

As we visited with one of the preschoolers and her mother, she was quick to correct us when we referred to Valentine’s Day. Yesterday, she informed us, was Galentine’s Day, and today is Valentine’s Day. I’d never before heard of Galentine’s Day, but thought it sounded like a nice thing. We have friends who live on a ranch down on Lame Johnny Creek. I thought a holiday to honor Roberta and Evan sounded like a great idea. Maybe it might be a bit of an offset for the fact that their address is named after a highway robber who was lynched by a mob not far from their home. I was informed that Galentine’s Day is a real thing, a celebration of women by women, which shouldn’t have surprised me since I’m not a woman that I wouldn’t know bout the day. Actually, it turns out that I’m just slightly culturally deprived because I don’t watch television. The name Galentine’s Day is from an episode of the program Parks and Recreation.

A mede up holiday seems to fit in with our culture nicely. After all the “original” holiday, Valentine’s Day is pretty much a made up holiday as well. The original list of saints was a list of Roman martyrs called Chronography of 354. It was compiled under the patronage of a wealthy Roman Christian named Valentinus. It doesn’t list a Saint Valentine. However another list, compiled between 460 and 544 from various earlier sources does list Saint Valentine, a clergyman who ministered to persecuted Christians before Christianity became legal in Rome. His ministries included performing weddings between Christians, which were illegal at the time. He was executed by the authorities for his illegal acts. Like other saints, the day of his death is the day of recognizing him in the liturgy, so February 14 became Saint Valentine’s Day. Over the centuries it has become a celebration of love and courtship. I guess it just didn’t seem as much fun to make a holiday for celebrating epilepsy. Valentine is also the patron saint of epilepsy.

In our time, the day is rarely much of a religious event. It is, rather, a day when couples are supposed to recognize each other with gifts and cards and celebrate the power of romance.

The day fits into our family’s schedule. Since my wife’s birthday is a week before Valentine’s Day it serves as a reminder that there is another day to celebrate falling in love.

February is also the month set aside to educate people about heart health. February is American Heart Month. Since heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States a month of education about heart health seems like a good idea. The month is so designated by the Federal Government in association with the National heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Library of Medicine. There are events all around the nation to encourage healthy diet choices and exercise options. Having experienced cardiac arrest in our family in the past year, we’re pretty sensitive to the heart month resources in our community. We’ve been working on special heart month exercise goals and trying to do our part to help prevent heart disease. Since we are an empty nest couple, it is a bit romantic to go on daily walks and cook special meals for each other.

Heart health is a better tradition fo us than traditional ways of recognizing the holiday. There will be no boxes of chocolates since chocolate contains caffeine and caffeine can be a trigger for AFib. My wife is wearing a continuous heart monitor for the month, and we want a perfect reading for her cardiologist, so we’re staying away from any potential triggers.

We don’t have any information about Saint Valentine’s heart health. Presumably he died young, so probably escaped any symptoms of the disease. We don’t know much about his diet, but since he lived a long time before automobiles, he probably got in plenty of walking.

However you celebrate, have a happy and healthy Valentine’s Day. May you discover abundant love in your life.

Copyright (c) 2020 by Ted E. Huffman. I wrote this. If you would like to share it, please direct your friends to my web site. If you'd like permission to copy, please send me an email. Thanks!