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Virtual Valentines

The reshaping of a holiday

By KRISTIN BARRON
Posted 2/17/21

Between checking online county COVID-19 dashboards and patient portals, I have noticed a new type of article has emerged. Known as the “what to do for the holiday during a pandemic” genre …

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root cellar

Virtual Valentines

The reshaping of a holiday

Posted

Between checking online county COVID-19 dashboards and patient portals, I have noticed a new type of article has emerged. Known as the “what to do for the holiday during a pandemic” genre of writing, these articles attempt to list the “safe” things people can do to celebrate when they are cooped up at home.

Valentine’s Day, a holiday some people love to hate, is now over. It was perhaps, for many, a distracting respite during this bleak and overwhelming February.

Love it or hate it, the holiday posed the question as to what can be done that does not involve a fancy dinner date or the Valentine’s dance held in the high school gym.

Suggestions ranged from stargazing on the back porch to breakfast in bed, but most relied heavily on the internet, even during a time when many people are eager to escape their online identities after days filled with teleconference calls. Ideas for 2021 couples and singles alike included taking an online cooking lesson, attending a yoga session, or taking a class on the art of seduction.

Most school children this year did not have traditional class Valentine’s Day parties with card exchanges, cupcakes and Fun Dip (a kind of popular candy treat that is like Pixy Stix on steroids). I remember the mix of excitement and anguish I felt at those parties, where I felt a kinship with Charlie Brown waiting for someone to drop a coveted Tinkerbell card into my brown paper bag “Valentine’s mailbox.”

While some schools allowed the exchange of cards that had been brought in ahead of time and disinfected, many others eliminated classroom parties and any type of homemade snacks during the pandemic. Still, other districts, in lieu of a single-day celebration, turned to “kindness weeks” that encouraged participation in activities that promote empathy and thoughtfulness.

At the top of many of the Valentine lists was the simple suggestion to make a homemade card for your Valentine or anyone else who would appreciate a reminder of your love for them.

Rummaging in boxes of old photos and cards, I recently found a couple of truly singular homemade Valentine’s cards. In keeping with my family’s interest in the outdoors and natural history, the first card features a hummingbird sphinx moth made for me by a cousin when I was in junior high school. A charming, velvety creature that flies in the daytime, the hummingbird sphinx has clear wings and mimics a hummingbird, darting among the springtime lilacs and phlox. They are always a delight to see, but I think we were enamored of these insects way back then, as well as amused by a moth that acted like a bird. Another homemade card, made by my aunt, is a more traditional heart design with blue polka dots and an original rhyming verse inside. These cards have no dates, but they are timeless, beautiful keepsakes.

Creating a homemade card was one of the safe things to return to this year. It would be nice if it continues long after the pandemic is over.

Now I have written an article in line with the “what to do for the holiday during a pandemic” genre. It is an attempt to offer a simple and lighthearted read during a particularly difficult time. I hope you all have a healthy and safe February, regardless of if you celebrated Valentine’s Day or not. And keep in mind that discount Valentine’s chocolate went on sale February 15.

valentine, DOVID

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