After the Fact: Saints and angels


Some of our more intriguing finds, from clothes to the Kitchen Magician, came from one or another of the thrift stores in the Valley. We are regular donors but I sometimes think we bring home an equal amount of merchandise. Sometime in late summer, Chris found an amazing angel that she KNEW would be perfect for our Christmas tree. He’d been hanging around on one shelf or another for months before he actually made it to the top of the tree where he gradually slipped sideways until, by Christmas, he was a very tipsy angel. We named him “Raphael” and I informed Patience that he was an “archangel.”  She wanted to know why, if he was a “he”, he had long hair and was wearing a long dress. Thereupon ensued a lengthy discussion over archangels and why they aren’t girls and why I am a Catholic. It finally ended with “Because, Patience!” as do a number of our conversations.

So, now I am brushing up on saints so I can explain St. Valentine and why real hearts don’t look like Valentine’s hearts and other significant and relevant questions that shake Patience’s world. Other than being largely engineered by Hallmark, Hershey and Cadbury, Valentine’s Day celebrates the life of several saints named Valentine who are known, collectively, for nothing romantic. One of the Valentines is the “patron saint” of beekeepers so it would be more appropriate to give your “valentine” a jar of honey! It’s early for Farmers’ Markets, but Haefeli’s, one of our larger honey producers, has a great gift store on Grand Ave. in Del Norte, and I think they’ll ship gifts if your special person lives somewhere else. Honey is one of those “all-purpose condiments” that goes with everything except Brussels sprouts.

When I was in grade school, every kid had a shoebox-size Valentine box, decorated with construction paper and doilies, on their desk so classmates could “mail” a Valentine. We didn’t always get one from every other student and finding out not everyone liked you was a hard lesson to learn. We survived. And probably forgot all about it before the next year’s cards were being “addressed.” Without WalMart and Dollar General, we were reduced to making the Valentine cards for friends and family.  Eventually, we got a “dime store” in my home town. It wasn’t as glorious as Woolworth, but we could buy cards that didn’t break the bank and they even came with a mini-envelope.

Patience and her best friend, Autumn, decided they might like to MAKE their cards this year. Hallelujah! I’m coming out of retirement to help with a school art project! There’s a whole lot of “stuff” at Dollar Tree that’s just perfect for crafts, though I have a feeling that cards this year are going to cost a whole lot more than they have in the past couple of years. But the idea is to have something really different and something that’s fun for the girls and, incidentally, fun for grandma. Chris just gets to run the vacuum where we spill all the glitter so maybe she deserves a really super Valentine with lots of ribbons and lots of glitter that’s permanently glued on. I think she sometimes feels like she’s running a kindergarten here.

Martin Luther King Day is the week after Valentine’s Day. I don’t think much is done to recognize it in the schools here though Patience did say her teacher last year had “read something to them” and she did, basically, grasp the reason we have MLK Day. Maybe I can convince her and Autumn that they should build a shoebox diorama. There’s nothing like “reinforcement” to make learning come alive. Too bad some of the schools haven’t figured out the value of art and music, but, unlike Alamosa, every school district doesn’t get a Sue Patterson to show them how it’s done.

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