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Love across the ages Richard Pena | Sat, Feb 16 2013 12:00 PM

This past week those of us in the South County experienced two phenomenas: bad weather and love. The bad weather was because this is winter and it was manifesting one of its characteristics. Love because it is February and that is generally what this month is all about.

We see evidence of the latter in the daily papers, the television programs and ads and even on the Internet. This is the month when many of those charitable agencies make their drive for added funds that will aid them in their endeavors. There are folks who dress in red or pink, and endure those one-day-or-more walks to promote cancer awareness, or heart disease awareness or other life threatening diseases to which we are subject. All of these are, of course, worthwhile and are some of the things in which we were active many years ago but to which nowadays we do nothing more than lend lip service. Lip service is, of course, better than no service at all. And when we get right down to it what folks do to this end it is done out of love.

I would guess that there are few folks around who did not— in some form or other—observe love for others in February.  We were reminded of it on almost a daily basis and to top it off we had a special day reserved just for that occasion. Yep, Valentine’s Day, or if one prefers, St. Valentine’s Day came around on the 14th of the month and was there for the use of anyone who had some sort of a heart.

I have often stated that some of the most fulfilling periods in my working years were as a classroom teacher. One of the reasons for this, I believe, is things were simpler in those days.  I was at a school that had a strong PTA. Parents were for the school, would back up any decision made by the school and aided the school in many ways.  Each classroom had a room mother—that is an elected for appointed person who, more or less, took care of the social end of the classroom for the teacher.  Anything special—within reason, of course—and the room mother would put her committee in motion and before too long the classroom would be one bevy of activity with mothers in charge.

There was a big to-do at Valentine time.  This had nothing to do with the teacher.  The event was sort of built in.  Like Christmas or the Fourth of July it was part of the calendar and it certainly was not going to be ignored. The students, aided by the room mother and her staff, would sort of decorate the room in a festive fashion. There was the annual run on red construction paper and before too long children-made hearts, white snowflakes and other signs of the season would engulf the classroom. The mothers would supply the party fare with cookies, muffins, cup cakes and drinks  and then came the exchange of cards.

I often had the fear that some child was going to wind up with nothing. I could not let this happen and it never did. Each child was quite pleased with the outcome.

The literature is full of  Valentine’s day and its origin. Most folks accpt the one of a saint, Valentinus, who lived sometime in the 3rd Century.  He was a learned and sacred man who was jailed by the emperor Claudius. 

While in prison he was befriended  by his jailer’s daughter, a to ancient jail cellsyoung, blind girl.  On her visits to Valentinus she learned many things, one being the power of prayer.  The two were, in fact, at prayer on the night before his execution when a miracle occurred. She overcame her blindness and could once more see.

The crime he was executed for was marrying young couples in love. If the legend is true, he truly died for love.

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