There’s time for ev­ery­thing in Jan­uary

The Covington News - - Opinion - Bar­bara Mor­gan

March, it is said, “comes in like a lion … .” Well, that’s a pretty good de­scrip­tion of our Jan­uary, isn’t it? We’ve seen record-break­ing snow and ice and a state — and Newton County — largely shut down by the crip­pling af­ter-ef­fects. On the same week­end frigid tem­per­a­tures and dis­abling win­ter pre­cip­i­ta­tion ar­rived, we reeled from sense­less vi­o­lence in Tuc­son. I ven­ture to say that we’ll re­cover from the snow and ice sooner than from an in­ci­dent that calls into ques­tion this coun­try’s un­civil dis­course, the han­dling of the men­tally ill and the ad­dic­tion to guns. Un­til the un­set­tling of our equa­nim­ity by these two oc­cur­rences, Jan­uary was sim­ply a month to get a break from the frenzy of the hol­i­days. It was time to put the house in or­der, en­joy a lit­tle rest, pay off Christ­mas bills and plan a more pro­duc­tive year than the last. But party plan­ners have sneak­ily turned our peace­ful month into 31-day-long fes­ti­val with some­thing for ev­ery spe­cial in­ter­est imag­in­able. Ev­ery date has its unique ob­ser­vance. We’ve al­ready missed a few: New Year’s Day is (ap­pro­pri­ately) Bloody Mary Day. Jan. 2 was Cream Puff Day; Jan. 3 was Fruit­cake Toss Day: Jan. 4, Spaghetti Day; Jan. 5, Na­tional Bird Day; Jan. 6, Bean Day and Cud­dle Up Day (the for­mer pre­clud­ing the lat­ter); Jan. 8, Bub­ble Bath Day; Jan. 9, Na­tional Apri­cot Day; Jan. 10, Pe­cu­liar Peo­ple Day or Bit­ter­sweet Choco­late Day; Jan. 11, Hot Toddy Day; Jan. 12, Na­tional Phar­ma­cist Day and Curried Chicken Day, and Jan. 13, In­ter­na­tional Skep­tics Day and Peach Melba Day. To­day is Hot Pas­trami Sandwich Day and Dress up Your Pet Day. Our dog Sonny makes a strong ar­gu­ment against that one. Satur­day is Na­tional Hat Day and Straw­berry Ice Cream Day. Sun­day will be Na­tional Noth­ing Day and Fig Newton Day. On Mon­day, it’s Ditch Your New Year’s Res­o­lu­tions Day and Hot But­tered Rum Day, a fit­ting com­bi­na­tion. Tues­day is Th­e­saurus Day and Win­nie the Pooh Day, be­ing the birth­day of Pooh’s cre­ator, A.A. Milne. Come Wed­nes­day, it’s Na­tional Pop­corn Day, fol­lowed Thurs­day by Pen­guin Aware­ness and Cheese Lovers Day. On Jan. 21, cel­e­brate Blonde Brownie Day; Jan. 23, Na­tional Pie Day and Mea­sure Your Feet Day (go fig­ure!); Jan. 24, Com­pli­ment Day and Beer Can Ap­pre­ci­a­tion Day; Jan. 25, Op­po­site Day and Na­tional Ir­ish Cof­fee Day; Jan. 26, Spouse’s Day; Jan. 27, Choco­late Cake Day; Jan. 28, Na­tional Ka­zoo Day and Blue­berry Pan­cake Day; Jan. 29, Na­tional Puz­zle Day and Na­tional Corn Chip Day; Na­tional Crois­sant Day on Jan. 30; and Back­ward Day and Brandy Alexan­der Day on Jan. 31. Jan­uary, which takes its name from the god Janus who looks both back­wards and for­wards, suf­fers from split per­son­al­i­ties. Jan­uary, among other things, is Na­tional Blood Donor Month, Thy­roid Aware­ness Month, Na­tional Bath Safety Month, Na­tional Braille Lit­er­acy Month, Na­tional Hobby Month, Hot Tea Month (amen!), Na­tional Oat­meal Month, Na­tional Soup Month, Cer­vi­cal Can­cer Aware­ness Month, Glau­coma Aware­ness Month, Na­tional Egg Month, Na­tional Meat Month (not at my house), and Prune Break­fast Month. De­spite many of the fun and silly Jan­uary cel­e­bra­tions, some have mean­ing­ful lo­cal rel­e­vance, such as the 10th An­nual Na­tional Men­tor­ing Month. Our own Newton Men­tor­ing pro­gram is run by Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Mar­garet Washington, who tells me there are some 88 ded­i­cated men and women work­ing one-on-one with lo­cal school stu­dents who need the pres­ence of a pre­dictable adult in their lives. More men­tors are desperately needed, par­tic­u­larly male men­tors who can make a dif­fer­ence in the lives of youth who’ve not known their fa­thers. Men­tor­ing re­duces drug use and vi­o­lence, boosts aca­demic per­for­mance, builds char­ac­ter and con­fi­dence and pre­vents more drop-outs. Newton Men­tor­ing will host a re­cruit­ment re­cep­tion from 5-6:30 p.m. Jan. 27 at The Cen­ter for Com­mu­nity Preser­va­tion and Plan­ning on Washington Street. Men­tors will be on hand to an­swer ques­tions about the pro­gram and share their ex­pe­ri­ences. Men­tor­ing can make a crit­i­cal dif­fer­ence in the lives of youth who might oth­er­wise fail to achieve all that life is meant to be. Might you want to give Mar­garet Washington a real rea­son to cel­e­brate this month? Bar­bara Mor­gan is a Cov­ing­ton res­i­dent with a back­ground in news­pa­per jour­nal­ism, state govern­ment and pol­i­tics.

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