From Pipi’s Pasture: A special month, indeed
Strange that February should be one of my favorite months, considering my dislike of winter. However, my February memories were formed when I was a child growing up on the ranch, and though there was plenty of snow, there were other things, too — like heart-shaped boxes covered with pink fabric and artificial flowers; cupcakes frosted with fluffy frosting, then decorated with heart-shaped candies; cherry pie; and even log cabins fashioned from popsicle sticks.
You see, Christmas was followed by the month of January — a doing-nothing-special kind of month for us kids, marked by snow and more snow and sometimes down time because of the flu. So, when the first of February came around, things were looking up!
At school, we spent “art time” thinking about a valentine box that would hold all the valentines to be handed out at the Valentine’s Day party. We gave it serious thought, found a suitable box, made a large slit in the top, and decorated it with construction paper, crepe paper, cut-out hearts, and paper doilies.
From then on, until the party day, we spent “free time” (time after our school work was finished) working as secretly as possible on valentines for our classmates and family members. We had “boughten” valentines, too, which we made out at home and took to school the day of the party.
Just before Valentine’s Day, we celebrated Lincoln’s birthday by making log cabins from popsicle sticks and drawing and coloring pictures of cabins to hang around the classroom — all this to enhance a history lesson about Lincoln.
The Valentine’s Day party at school was held during the day with our mothers in attendance. They brought decorated cupcakes and punch, and a student was chosen to hand out valentines from the overflowing valentine box. After the party, all of the students went home with a bag of mostly unopened valentines, candy treats, and usually cupcakes that were too pretty to eat. We enjoyed looking at the valentines for several days.
Because February was a heavy birthday month around our neighborhood, some of the community members and family enjoyed another party around this time — usually held at our house. I remember it for the layer cakes decorated with maraschino cherries and candies, favors made from “gummy” red hearts, and lots of other treats (I don’t remember the main course of the dinner).
Washington’s birthday rounded out the month. At school, the classroom was decorated with construction-paper cherry trees and hatchets, and, of course, we studied about Washington. At home, Mom made a cherry dessert to celebrate, usually cherry pie.
Perhaps what I remember most about February, however, was going to Craig on a Saturday to shop (when weather permitted). During a trip early in February, we bought our valentines. The stores, particularly the drug stores, had set up displays of perfumes, soaps, and candles — oh, everything smelled so good. We couldn’t help but wonder what kind of candies the decorated heart-shaped boxes concealed. The pink and red boxes covered with artificial flowers were beyond beautiful. There were lots of valentine card assortments from which to choose, too.
Oh, the delight! February is s special month, indeed.
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