February reminds us to lighten each other’s hearts with simple gestures that spark memories, convey love and faithfulness, and dispel shadows to fill our days with light.
I grew up in Akron, OH when it was the “rubber capital of the world.” It was also the home of the Goodyear blimp and the Quaker Oats company. After school the aroma of a new batch of oatmeal cookies lured us home, even as the menacing blimp silently cast its shadow, sparking our imaginations with stories of being followed. By 4:30 in the afternoon when a loud horn signaled a shift change at the rubber company, the air was saturated with the smell of tires being made ready to hit the road. Shortly after that, I remember the phone ringing in our kitchen where we sat doing homework. My mom was always quick to answer. Dad would be calling from the aerospace headquarters wondering if she needed anything from the store as he was on his way. Mom conveyed the message. It was time for us to clean up and set the table, because “your father will be home soon.”
My mother lived eleven years after my dad died at age seventy-eight. Once when I was home visiting and took her to the grocery store, “easy listening music” played I Just Called to Say I love You. She stopped her cart midway down the cereal aisle and sighed: “This song always reminds me of your father.”
February is the shortest month of the calendar year, but here on the North Coast, days can seem very long, with or without the Ground Hog’s shadow. Legend says that a priest condemned to death by the Emperor Claudius II in 269 wrote letters from prison to his friends and signed them “always your Valentine.”
How will you offer love, express gratitude, strengthen relationships and acknowledge connections with others this month? Remember “Love alone will last.”
Cheryl Keehner, CSA