Forget what T.S. Eliot says about April.

Cheese Heads know the truth. February is the cruelest month.

The time of year when good people are tortured with bad trivia such as:

• Choosing our favorite: President Lincoln or President Washington.

• Giving up (once again) the hope of ever receiving a Valentine from the person we love.

• Worrying over an insipid, useless rodent and his sorry shadow.

• Giving more credit than God intended to all the above.

Speaking of God, February brings out the worst in all his/her creatures.

You don’t believe me? Check this out. More snowfall than any other month. More “snow days” for our children – which means underfoot elementary school scholars and more expense for childcare.

Belligerent adolescents. Restless employees. Grumpy old men. Moody old women.

February brings an increase in alcohol-related traffic accidents, an increase in divorce filings, a town full of cranky toddlers, whiny babies. And no decent fresh fruit at the grocery store.

These are the times that try Cheese Head’s souls.

So – what’s a good-hearted person to do?

Submitted for your coping pleasure: Five strategies to make it through February without committing to homicide or divorce.

One: The Packers. I know, I know. They gave up on us but don’t give up on them. Wear the jersey to church, like always. Drink coffee from the mug with pride. Pledge your new devotion. Cling to irrational hope.

Two: The sauna. You know what I’m talking about, right? Something there is about heat and steam to knock the snot out of you. Find a sauna. Plant yourself. Overdo it. Then, overdo it again – at least three more times in February.

Three: Make a damn fool out of yourself over your honey, if you have one. Sure, he’s lazy. Certainly she’s an awful cook. Lord knows nothing exciting is happening in the feathers. Even so, praise that partner. Give a little – get a lot. February is time to rekindle.

Four: Volunteer at Treasures. Bring a bag of groceries to the Community Food Pantry. Ask if you can hang out at Nelson’s and bag groceries for old ladies. Do something nice for someone and who knows? Maybe the sun will come out!

Five: Be thankful. Be alive. Be honest with yourself. It’s a great life, and you know it. You’re awake, taking nourishment, ambulatory (hopefully) and using your cognitive faculties. Consider the alternatives and do something in praise of the Great Ground of All Being who grants you another chance.

Sure, it’s sunny somewhere else. Sure, the snow is a pain to plow. Sure, the children are impossibly belligerent and the boss can’t be soothed.

Cheer up, Bunky.

A tulip presses against the tundra. Lilacs plan their blooms. Temperatures ache to push above freezing.

Patience, my friend. Spring slouches this direction.

The Caffeinated Clergywoman is The Rev. Kristine Holmgren, Pastor of First United Presbyterian Church in Baldwin. Don’t tell anyone; she’s spending the first two weeks of February on a cruise to Hawaii. Contact Kristine Kristine.holmgren@gmail.com

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