The aw­fullest month

The Compass - - ED­I­TO­RIAL - Harold Wal­ters Harold Wal­ters lives Hap­pily Ever Af­ter in Dunville. He thinks it’s cool to live in the only Cana­dian prov­ince with its own time zone. He does not think it cool to live in a prov­ince that taxes books. Reach him at gh­wal­ters663@gmail.com.

Fe­bru­ary is the month, eh b’ys?

You might ques­tion my gram­mar but there’s no get­ting around the fact — Fe­bru­ary is the aw­fullest month.

It’s the mid­dle of win­ter, for frig sake.

Jan­uary is bear­able. The ex­cite­ment of Christ­mas and New Year’s is still a resid­ual tin­gle in our bones. For some folks, it’s even fun to haul on their win­ter duds and romp about in brand new snow­drifts.

March — al­though of­ten spo­ken of as be­ing “long and hun­gry” — even trumps Fe­bru­ary. Once the Ver­nal Equinox has been reach we can hope for spring, at least.

But god-aw­ful — god-aw­fullest? — soul-suck­ing Fe­bru­ary has no re­deem­ing fea­tures. It is the bleak dead of win­ter. The ini­tial won­der of win­ter has ebbed. The eter­nal hope for spring still lies deep in­side sod with hi­ber­nat­ing dan­de­lion buds — bless their hearts.

“Harry, my sad, SAD honey,” said Dear­est Duck, think­ing she was be­ing funny. “It sounds like you are suf­fer­ing from sea­sonal af­fec­tive dis­or­der.” “P’raps I am, my Duck,” said I. “Buck up, my love,” said Dear­est Duck. “Sure, there is only 28 days in Fe­bru­ary.”

“Ah, one of Fe­bru­ary’s mis­lead­ing nasty tricks,” said I. “Post­ing just 28 days on the cal­en­dar is in­tended to make your nog­gin think those days will zip by. In ac­tu­al­ity, win­ter’s gloom causes each day to stretch and dis­tort like pulled and twisted taffy.”

“My love,” said Dear­est Duck, “take a pill. Vi­ta­min D might help.”

Speak­ing vi­ta­min.

When I was a wee bay-boy dwelling in a dif­fer­ent bay, vi­ta­min D was syn­ony­mous with cod liver oil.

As a tiny bay-boy scholar, I sat close to a wall in one of Joey’s con­fed­er­a­tion schools. Thumb-tacked to the wall was a poster handy the size of a schooner sail. A beam­ing-faced sun shone from the top half of the poster. This procla­ma­tion spread like a belt across the poster’s mid­dle: You are my sun­shine, cod liver oil! Be­neath that was a pic­ture of an open bar­rel of fer­ment­ing cod liv­ers. That last bit is a lie. If I re­call cor­rectly, the pic­ture was a dark blue bot­tle of Ger­ald S. Doyle’s cod liver oil.

An aside: Let’s play Face­book. Click “Share” if you re­mem­ber that poster. Click “Share” again if — in Fe­bru­ary, the frig­gin’ dead of win­ter — Mammy ever head-locked you and forced you to glutch over­sized spoon­fuls of cod liver oil.

“Harry,” said Dear­est Duck, ar­riv­ing with a brace of pills in one hand and a mug of Ten­sion Tamer in the other. “Take these. They are as good as a tonic.” “Vi­ta­min D, I s’pose.” “Umm,” said Dear­est Duck. “Just open your mouth and swal­low.”

Re­mem­ber Ground­hog Day? An­other of Fe­bru­ary’s nasty of the aw­fullest sun­shine tricks. Ground­hog Day is Fe­bru­ary teas­ing, say­ing, “Let’s play a happy game. Let’s go out­side in the snow and ob­serve wildlife.”

Odds are, Fe­bru­ary’s sky is over­cast so Mr. Ground­hog — or Mr. Muskrat, for that mat­ter — will not see his shadow. Folk­lore claims if that’s the case, con­founded Mr. Ground­hog will bide out­side his bur­row, a sign that spring is nigh.

Click “Share” if you ever held your breath on ac­count of that false prog­nos­ti­ca­tion

“Harry, per­haps a cou­ple of more pills will help.” “P’raps.” I took my Ten­sion Tamer to my Lay-Z-Boy, swal­lowed the sec­ond dou­ble dose of cod oil, so to speak, and re­flected on the pos­si­bil­ity of a bright spot in Fe­bru­ary. I sipped my sup of dou­ble-T. I cog­i­tated while rapid-re­lease vi­ta­min D flooded my bread­bas­ket and raced like adren­a­line through my blood­stream.

And even­tu­ally the sun be­gan to shine and ban­ished Fe­bru­ary’s gloom.

There’s a bright spot in Fe­bru­ary af­ter all.

Click “Share” if you can guess what it is. No? Here’s a hint. Pic­ture a chubby- arse cherub, — prob’ly trail­ing a di­a­per — fir­ing ar­rows faster and straighter than Robin Hood, or that comely young Everdeen maid in those Hunger Games movies.

Now you have it. Cupid tar­get­ing hearts.

Valen­tine’s Day. Ro­mance and Love ga­lore.

I sprung from my Lay-Z-Boy, grabbed my parka and scrav­elled to­wards the door slow­ing down to smooch Dear­est Duck en route.

“We are you asked.

“Just wait and see, my love, my Dear­est Duck,” said I. “You’ll be pleas­antly sur­prised when I get home.”

I was bound for choco­lates in heart-shaped boxes.

I was bound for bunched in a bou­quet.

I was bright-eyed and bushy­tailed and burst­ing with glad­ness.Thank you for read­ing.

Be Mine, Valen­tine! off too?” she roses

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