One day last week, the skies were gray and dismal, and all that was coming over the radio was bad news. Drug busts, homicides and domestic violence incidences (in front of the Hodag statue, no less) were all getting top billing as I drove to work.
In addition, the snow banks zipping past my window were grey and grungy; I had just gotten an unexpectedly large propane bill in the mail and the weatherman had announced this was officially the “dead of winter.” I felt depressingly overwhelmed.
Clearly an attitude adjustment was needed. So I started thinking about Valentine’s Day and all the “sweethearts” in my life. I use this word loosely. Some people consider a sweetheart a significant other but my interpretation of it is anyone that takes the time to brighten your day.
Many of the sweethearts I have known in my life have flitted in like soothing angels, while others have been friends for years. Take for instance the guys at a local auto parts shop. One of my headlights went out, and I went there to purchase a new one. The man behind the counter was more than helpful, and when he handed me the box containing the new light I had one question. “Does the installation of this require tools?” He gave me a quizzical look. “Yep, a screw driver,” he replied, and I outwardly winced. I’m mechanically challenged.
But that nice man came to my rescue. He walked out to my car and installed that headlight right then and there and didn’t charge me a nickel to do it either. I drove away in a glow. My problem was solved and I felt there truly was hope for mankind.
Then there are the angels I have known for years. My neighbors Sandi and Gary, have fed me, babysat my kid and pets, and even played a big role in the construction of my home. They were there for me when my mom passed away; they have entertained me; listened to my troubles and it has been a rare instance that they haven’t come to my aid when asked. They are my “go to” people and I can’t say how thankful I am they are my friends and truly, genuine sweethearts.
Throughout the years, I have also realized that sometimes sweethearts take on furry forms. I can honestly say this about “Crawdad” my kitten. Many days she has me pulling my hair out with her mischievousness and yet she has an uncanny ability to know when I need a little tender care. She will climb upon my chest, lay her tiny head on my shoulder and softly plant a “kitty kiss” on my cheek. Sometimes she reclines between my knees, her purring a soothing cadence. But she also has the ability to entertain. She will run wildly around my legs and then flop in front of me wanting a pet and her kitty suck-up routine when she is about to get a can of her favorite food, is truly hilarious.
I am also happy to report, that at times I have returned the sweetheart favor. One time a few years back when I was working for a veterinarian, a lady brought us a box filled with tiny homemade cinnamon rolls. Her dog almost died after being hit by a car, but after some quick triage by my boss and a lengthy operation to repair a lot of broken bones and other injuries, the little pup had pulled through. She was so grateful she made us these tiny rolls which were delicious, and surprisingly simple. She gave me the recipe and I have made them many times since, always thinking of her tiny pooch when I pull the card from my recipe box.
So when the weather, or the news, or life circumstances get you down, remember the sweethearts in your life. Or better yet, be a sweetheart, because you just never know what goodies may show up on your doorstep.
Mini Cinnamon Rolls
1 loaf frozen bread dough
1/3 stick butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbs. cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thaw out dough and roll into a rectangle to 1/4-inch thickness. Spread the butter on the flattened dough covering thoroughly. Sprinkle on the brown sugar and cinnamon covering the entire surface. Sprinkle on the nuts. Roll the dough up starting on the long side of the rectangle. Cut into 12 equal portions. Grease a muffin tip and fill each cup with a section of the cut up dough. Bake in oven for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Associate Editor Mary Ann Doyle is available at firstname.lastname@example.org.