February stirs up sweet memories

Published 12:06 pm Thursday, February 8, 2024

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It could happen any time, tornado,

earthquake, Armageddon. It could happen.

Or sunshine, love, salvation.

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It could, you know. That’s why we wake

and look out — no guarantees

in this life.

But some bonuses, like morning,

like right now, like noon,

like evening.

~ William Stafford, “YES” 


Light glistens over whispering pine branches as February entices and beckons to early spring, even on mornings when a razor-thin layer of ice floats on water. In stores, shades of vermilion, scarlet and deep crimson roses hold court amid red, pink and gold heart-shaped boxes. Often the box decorations are the prize—it’s the show, the promise of what’s within. 

All that makes me remember elementary school cardboard shoe boxes covered with bright paper, hopeful drawings, be mine Valentine hopes; each child’s name carefully lettered on top, just so Cupid couldn’t miss the mark. Then the memories drift like wood smoke onto an afternoon at the Eckerd’s drugstore in town—the counter of cameras and film, gum, candy, magazines, cans of tobacco in the rear and everything you might need (or not) besides. 

In line for the cashier, I clutching a Little Golden Book in hand, my dad with his pipe tucked in his shirt pocket, tie and slacks, chatting with friend and fellow co-worker Mr. Vick, the quiet college English professor, wearing a proper tie, a suit and shy smile, buying an extremely large and deliciously garish be-ribboned heart (with ruffles too) Whitman’s box and Hallmark card for his wife Frances on his way home. Both comfortable and easy-going intellectual sorts of professors, the Vicks are long gone now, yet kept in memory—their long devotion to teaching and to each other tucked in my heart’s shoebox.

February makes me treasure my favorite things—namely one well-worn fuzzy wool LL Bean sweater with shell buttons—always comfy, warm—a friend on chill evenings. Not one to win a fashion show, but it’s the one I’d pick over new fancy ones. So vintage, it was made in the USA. Like homemade warm apple pie, it’s forever special in its own right. Like people and memories.  

  • Mountain Song Community Chorus is looking for singers who can sing their part in four-part chorus music. If you can hold a tune, join in. Rehearsals start February 12 and continue Mondays from 6:30-8 p.m. at Saluda Center. For more information, visit www.MountainSong.info
  • Ellen W. Rogers, Saluda Elementary School teacher and long-time resident, will share her travels to Northern Ireland last summer at the local library. Her exploration in Ireland focused on the influence of the Ulster-Scots immigrants on Appalachian culture and was funded by a Polk County Community Foundation Slater Excellence in Teaching Award. Mark your calendar for February 24, 11 a.m., at Saluda Library (upstairs meeting room). All ages are welcome! 
  • Saluda Community Table will have meals on Feb. 13 (with chef Dori Ray) and Feb. 20 (Holy Smokes Pastors’ Cook-off with Chip Broadfoot, Rob Parsons, and Tony Reece serving up chili and cornbread) from 5:30-7 p.m. at Saluda Center. Gather with neighbors and good music; donations are appreciated. If possible, bring your own dinnerware, go green. 
  • Saluda Farmers Winter Market is held each 2nd and 4th Saturday through April from 10-1 at Saluda Center, 64 Greenville Street.
  • Happy February Birthday to Wylie Rauschenbach, Wesley Pace, Ginny Jones, Pam Thompson, Catherine Raymond, Eva McCray, Ellen Rogers, Margaret Miller, Paul London, Ward Sandahl, Bill Klippel, Dwight Smith, Ingrid Sandahl, Fred Baisden, Duane Bateman, Ragan Thompson, Laura Williams, Susan McMasters, Mark Gardner, Cappy Rearick, Linda Seagroves,  Irmy Chmielewski, Brian Lilburn and Edie Campbell. Add your birthday to the list!  

Feel free to contact me at bbardos@gmail.com, (828) 817-6765, P.O. Box 331, Saluda, NC 28773, Facebook, or visit bonniebardos.com