February 15, 2012
Recently, we celebrated Valentine's Day. As I wrote this, I was reminded of the joys of Valentine’s Days past: romantic dinners with significant others and exchanging little sentiments with timeless lyricisms as "You’re A-Ok with" me or "Will you BEE mine" on thin paper dropped in shoe boxes and decorated with hearts and pink tissue. My mouth waters thinking of those chalky, teeth breaking candy hearts you only get at this time of year, and of course, sharing the big heart-shaped box of Mom’s Russell Stover candy that Dad bought her every year. And as a side note…my mom DID know what you were going to get in every box. She knew what was underneath each chocolaty coating. When it came to candy, she was a connoisseur. But I also like to examine the history of Valentine’s Day, supposedly named after a real figure known as St. Valentine. Then, my mind wanders to thoughts of next month…and St. Patrick’s Day. It seems like we as a people are always coming up with things to celebrate.
Now some may argue that Valentine’s Day is simply an exaggerated and made up holiday to pad the pockets of greeting card company executives (sorry, KC-based Hallmark!). But I think it goes deeper than that. We always put so much effort and stress into the Big Holiday in December that I think there is such a collective let down when it’s over. I know not everyone celebrates Christmas, but it seems everyone, everywhere on the planet celebrates one thing or another at least once a year, and usually much more than once. And quite frankly, there’s nothing wrong with that. I think we keep ourselves sane with all these celebrations. Christmas is over? No worries, there’s New Year’s Next week. After that, Valentine’s Day. We’ve even co-opted Mardi Gras in most major cities all over the country. And why not? Let’s all have fun! St. Patrick’s Day…there’s a fun one. Dress in green and talk of leprechauns. Never mind that each of the 365 Days of the calendar year have a Saint’s name attached to it, many days have more than one.
Then we have Easter, which again not everyone celebrates, but it is a day associated with the spring solstice, which has been celebrated in form or another by most cultures throughout history, regardless of religious belief. I could go on… Mother’s Day, Father’s Day…and don’t forget those extra Monday’s we get off honoring our veterans, civic leaders, and presidents. For some of us, (Yay working for a library!) we get an extra day off for the weekend.
Now sometimes, it seems like all these extra holidays and celebrations are excuses for us to imbibe. Even the most Irish of pubs will advertise Cinco de Mayo specials. But I think it’s all about having fun. So let’s enjoy these holidays, enjoy each other’s company, and enjoy the chance to make an occasional day seem a little more special.
Happy Arbor Day Everyone!