THE OPPENHEIMER REPORT (February 15, 2021)
Another Valentine’s Day has come and gone, and I want to know how many of you Don-Juan-a-bees out there bought a box of chocolates for your sweethearts? In a lockdown, I doubt candy sales are considered an essential service. Nothing says “I love you” like a box of candy from the supermarket. Cinnamon hearts have always been my go-to Valentine’s Day candy. Shauna rarely eats candy, so it was a running gag in our household that I buy Valentine candy for myself. I never understood those chalky heart things with love messages printed on them. I understand the cute little love notes, but the candy is so awful. My Valentine tradition was far more creative. I used to buy Shauna a Valentine trinket from Dollarama. It was my statement of protest about another Hallmark holiday. One year, I gave her heart-shaped ruby red sunglasses, another year, it was heart-shaped red plastic handcuffs. I think that one might have crossed the line. Every so often, I completely throw her off and do something genuinely romantic. I wrote and performed a love song for her one year, and I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of that song. Another year, I bought her a gold watch from Birk’s Jewellers, engraved with a love note on the back. This year, my grand gesture was to engrave a snow heart, drawn with my boots while walking on the frozen lake in front of our house. Sometimes, you’ve got to think outside the pandemic.
I’m not against Valentine’s Day, or any other holiday for that matter. I do have a problem with the idea that we celebrate romance once a year, and then often go back to leading our normal, undemonstrative, take-our-loved-ones-for-granted lives for the rest of the year. Love should not be about annual gestures or trite greeting cards. I view Valentine’s Day the same way I look at New Year’s Eve. As someone who once held a black belt in overindulgence, New Year’s Eve was never my favorite night of the year to party. As well, I can’t remember the last time we went out for dinner to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
On Saturday, I took a long walk across the frozen lake. In the bitter, cold, fresh air, I soaked up some much-needed Vitamin D, and chilled out, literally. I had a frozen snot icicle hanging off my nose for at least the last quarter of the walk. I had a socially distanced conversation with several ice fishermen, then continued to follow a snowmobile trail to the other side of the lake. My new hip got a bit of a workout.
Sometimes I get a little blue around this time of year, regardless of the circumstances. For obvious reasons, this year has been tougher than most. Let’s just say it felt great to be outside and to feel the sun’s embrace. Saturday was my reminder of how important it is to take care of myself, and to sometimes let the bad stuff go. I have been so discouraged watching my homeland implode on national television. Honest Abe Lincoln must be turning in his grave. The Republican Party has officially lost the last remnants of its soul. I keep reminding myself what a friend once told me: you can’t fix crazy. I struggle with my inability to make things right. Sometimes, I need to take a step back from the front lines of the battle between love and hate. Sometimes, the only solution for me is to take a long walk.
Written by Jamie Oppenheimer ©2021 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED