It’s that time of year. Love is in the air.
Well, kind of. Tuesday is Valentine’s Day, a “holiday” I’m convinced has ascended into our collective consciousness through the unending efforts of florists, the hospitality industry and various other commercial interests as a way of shaking the retail economy back to life after folks spent January saving a little money in the aftermath of Christmas.
OK, maybe I’m overthinking it. But it is a silly holiday.
Kids have to get cards for all the other students in class, even the ones they don’t like. We go to restaurants and act like it’s no big deal to order the crème brûlée. Index editor Richard Whiting maxes out the credit card at Lucy’s Love Shop. We pretend to like those bland Necco Sweetheart candies, the ones with the messages on them like “Be Mine” or “Call Me” or “See You In Divorce Court.” Guys agree to watch movies Matthew McConaughey made between 2003 and 2009. Anything can happen.
What any of it has to do with “love” is not exactly clear, but nevertheless, here we are. Cards will be exchanged, teddy bears given, those old McConaughey movies watched. (If you must, you could do worse than “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.”)
But in the spirit of the holiday, I thought I’d share a few things I’m loving at the moment. In the news and in life in general.
I love that American Legion Post 20 baseball has survived, at least for the upcoming season. If you’ll recall, back in January the news broke that Post 20 was seriously considering ending its storied baseball program after 75 years, citing cost, the lack of volunteers and waning support. Many took to social media to express dismay, and I penned a Sunday column lamenting the possible loss. Well, word came last week from sports reporter David Roberts that the Braves would play in 2017, with Legion member Dale Kittles overseeing the operations of the program. With that squared away, the attention shifts. It shifts to you, Yes you, Lakelands residents. If you’ve never been to a Post 20 game, or haven’t been in years, make an effort to go this summer, even if just for one ballgame. I believe that even a modest uptick in attendance would help steady the program through this summer and beyond.
I love that Bubba Fennell is the 51st inductee into the Greenwood County Hall of Fame. As many in Greenwood and across South Carolina know, Bubba is many things. A skilled accountant, an entrepreneur, a member of the board of trustees at the University of South Carolina, and so on. He’s one of those doers, a person who pops up on all the important boards and committees. A willing servant. But what I’ve always appreciated most about Bubba is that he is a genuinely kind, decent man, one with an even temperament and an ever-present smile. I’ve crossed paths with him several times in Columbia in recent years, as he is on the USC board and I write for the Capital City’s Free Times newspaper. He is quick to approach me with warm smile and big handshake, and shares a few stories as if we’re old conspirators or something. It’s always sincerely good to see him. The Greenwood Area Chamber of Commerce could not have made a better selection this year.
And I love my daughter, Charley. Seemingly more each day. I love dropping her off at school and helping coach her soccer team. I love the way she always puts a smiley face beside her signature. I love that “Return of the Jedi” is her favorite “Star Wars” movie. I love how she rides her hoverboard inside the house in the morning. I love how she carries around our dog, Ollie, like a baby. (I’m not sure how much Ollie likes it. He looks more like he’s being held captive.) My wife and I took Charley to California recently, her first time on a plane. I loved that, and so did she. And, as you might imagine, at eight years old she loves Valentine’s Day. She’s got goodie bags lined up for all her friends, and we stuffed them with enough candy to keep the diabetes research industry going for another decade or so.
I guess there are things to love this time of year.
Chris Trainor is a contributing columnist for the Index-Journal. Contact him at ChrisTrainorSC@yahoo.com. You can follow him on Twitter@ChrisTrainorSC. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.