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Special Valentines

Many deserve praise for relieving suffering

The Inter-Mountain photos by Shannon Bennett Campbell This proud, wooden Slatyfork bridge provided a striking view for travelers during a recent trip through the Snowshoe Mountain area.

As I recently wound my way through several Pocahontas County hills and valleys on an afternoon return trip to Elkins, I was enjoying the pleasant sight of sunshine warming everything in its path and came upon a truly beautiful scene. Before me stood a brightly painted covered bridge sitting over a small stream as if to gaze back at me knowing it had my stare.

Covered bridges used to dot our landscape throughout these West Virginia hills. Their presence was necessary to connect roads, cross streams and provide travelers shelter who many times had periods of distress.

Often, covered bridges became meeting places and were considered symbolic of connecting ideas or bringing people together. Their socially unifying purposes could be repeated in these times.

Indeed, while few of these structures remain today, this one splashed with red paint on Rts. 219/55 in Slatyfork, caused me to think of a wonderful day of remembrance that will be upon us Sunday, Feb. 14, where we can pay tribute to special people in our lives and renew and strengthen relationships — Valentine’s Day.

Who would be at a loss this year to know someone who has really worked hard to relieve suffering of others? So many in our communities deserve more than a pat on the back for extending their efforts to ease both physical and mental stress.

If one wants to say it with Valentine roses, they are perched on most florist shop or grocery outlet shelves.

Everyone is aware of the challenges parents, educators and children have endured so learning could be acquired this past year. Family members, too, have had to take-on extra grocery shopping and cooking duties and grow weary of the everyday grind to produce healthy and tasty meals.

Additionally, all the staff members who ensure store operations that must be depended upon for food and supplies have had to alter their work duties and adapt to current requirements, leaving themselves unsettled with normal routines disturbed.

And, we cannot ignore our elderly population who have found themselves often being in a solitary state with many reservations about going anywhere in public arenas for fear of contracting the virus.

Let us face it. A lot of Valentines are due this year. Whether they be in the form of flowers, cookies, cakes, chocolates or cards, truly, this year’s celebration needs to be a big one. So, postal workers must just add on a little more help as the carriers I am sure will be packing lots more merchandise and loving greetings for those who need to be thanked.

While we listen to television and radio reports that complain and provide lots of negativity, those of us in our small communities see daily the heroic feats that take place and find lots of situations for which we are proud. We want to remember the color red for its relationship to hearts beating and loving, and congratulate those who make this life pleasant and downright bearable. Comfort and support that are prevalent take time and effort and a special thank you means a great deal to our society’s giving people.

Thomas Jefferson once reflected, “Friendship (those for whom we care) is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life and thanks to a benevolent arrangement, the greater part of life is sunshine.”

Musician Pablo Casals described “the capacity to care is that which gives life its greatest significance.” So, do not hesitate this Valentine’s Day to remember those whom you know are special. They wait as weary souls for someone to tell them they are loved. Plan now to have a heartfelt day full of joy and tender moments.

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