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Prime Time: Be good to your Valentines this year

February is a unique month in a number of ways. It is our shortest month, but the only one that can sneak in an extra day every four years. It is rarely pronounced the way it is spelled as we usually say "FEBYOUARY." Only your second-grade teacher carefully pronounced it the way it is spelled and required us to do so. too.

The notable holiday in this month is St. Valentine's Day. It is a delight and a much-needed celebration in the midst of the sometimes dreary days of midwinter.

I suspect the Saint would be amazed to know all that has come to surround the day that carries his name There were at least three saints named Valentine, The one most likely associated with our holiday was a kind-hearted priest who married young couples in defiance of the orders of Roman Emperor Claudius II. As a result of his disobedience, he was beheaded on Feb. 14 in about the year 270.

When we were in grade school, it was a very special day and often included a class party near the end of the school day with tasty treats provided by one or more of the mothers. We took pride in showing our moms our drawings among those on display for the occasion. Actually, art was never my forte, but everyone's drawings were displayed and your mom always assured you that yours was among the best.

Much thought and planning was given to the choice of cards for classmates. As a result of the fact that some kids got few or no cards while the most popular ones in the class got a bunch, it was decreed that we must bring a card for each of our classmates. Of course, we chose an extra special greeting for the person who was our secret crush. That was the term in our day. (Do kids still admit to having a crush on someone special?)

After sixth grade, Valentine's Day was not made a big deal in classes, but we did usually manage to slip a card to several of our best friends, including that one person we hoped would have a special card for us that would encourage us to think we were at least somewhat important to that certain special someone.

As adults, we find the holiday somewhat different. As married couples, we exchange loving cards and sometimes candy. It may even provide an excuse to go out for dinner. Once we have kids, they become the center of the celebration. When they come home from school with the pile of cards they've received, we admire them and offer consolation if there wasn't one from the person who was most important,

Be understanding of the young kids in your family who may come home from school feeling sad about the card that didn't come from just the right person. And be patient with the ones who come home with the pile of cards they have received and hyper from the sugary treats they may have consumed.

If you are an aging couple like many of us, buy a card or make one on the computer and give your longtime lover a big hug and a kiss.