Rockin’ and Talkin’ – February is heart month – take care of it

The monthly column of the Clinton Seniors Association.

The gift of love blesses twice. It enriches both the giver and also the receiver.

February is noted for many “days”

Feb. 2 – Groundhog Day

Feb. 10 – Chinese New Year

Feb. 11 – Family Day

Feb. 13 – Ash Wednesday

Feb. 14 – Valentine’s Day

Feb. 15 – National Flag of Canada Day

Space doesn’t allow for elaboration on all of these important days, but mark your calendar for the day before Ash Wednesday  –  Shrove Tuesday. St. Peter’s parish will be serving pancakes in the Legion basement from 11 am – 1pm  at $5 per plate.

If the groundhog emerges from his burrow to see his shadow, there’ll be six more weeks of winter weather. Why do Canadians and Americans and others around the world turn to these furry rodents for weather prediction in the first place? Falling midway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, Feb. 2 is a significant day in several ancient and modern traditions. Celts and Christians believe that a sunny Candlemas meant another 40 days of cold and snow. Sunny winter days are associated with colder, drier air. Legends abound as to how the Groundhog Day celebration evolved. Germans developed their own take on it pronouncing the day sunny only if badgers and other animals glimpsed their own shadows. When German immigrants settled Pennsylvania in the 18th and 19th Centuries they brought the custom with them choosing the native groundhog as the animal forecaster.   The first Groundhog Day celebration took place Feb. 2, 1887 in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania and the groundhog became known as Punxsutawney Phil.

Every Feb. 14 across Canada and the US and in other parts of the world, candy, flowers and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint, and where did these traditions come from, this centuries-old holiday, from ancient Roman rituals to the customs of Victorian England? The history of Valentine’s Day and the story of its patron saint is shrouded in mystery.  We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day as we know it today, contain vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. There actually are more than one Saint Valentine.

Written valentine greetings appeared around 1410. By the middle of the 18th century it was common for friends and lovers to exchange small tokens of affection or hand written notes and by 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology.

While February traditionally is the month to celebrate Valentine’s Day it is also dubbed Heart Month when through various media and publications we are urged to minimize our risk of a heart attack by maintaining a healthy diet and a regimen of regular exercise. Making healthy eating a part of your daily routine has so many benefits. A nutritious diet provides the energy you need to get through your busy days and can also have the long-term benefit of reducing your risk of heart disease and stroke. Eat lots of vegetables and fruit. Eat whole grain breads and cereals. Eat less fat, sugar, and salt (sodium). Heart month is a time where awareness of heart disease and stroke is front and centre. Heart disease and stroke is a leading cause of death for women.

Funds enable life giving research. They also provide a venue for us to learn about heart disease and reflect on our own lives and make better health choices. Through research and other initiatives, a future free of heart disease and stroke is being created where Canadians can live life to its fullest; healthy lives free of heart disease and stroke.

Sometimes it takes the reality of a heart attack before people re-evaluate their lives and set priorities for a healthy life style. If you want to live a long healthy life, doing the things you love, you may need to make life style changes. Include healthier foods in your diet, exercise more (walking is good), stop smoking, reduce alcohol and salt (sodium) intake. Address the risk factors for heart disease and stroke.  Do something – add years to your life and probably life to your years!

A long-time member of Clinton Seniors Association and friend and relative to many in Clinton, Marg Zimmerlee, has passed away. Seniors will assist at a tea to be held in her memory Feb. 16 at the Clinton Memorial Hall.

Clinton’s 150/50 Anniversary celebrations are underway. On Jan. 20 the Clinton Seniors Association partnered with the Lions Club to offer a concession at the arena when the Village sponsored an afternoon of free skating. Thank you to those who carried out this endeavour. Skaters enjoyed hot beverages and home baking.

Reminder – Clinton Seniors Association Daffodil Tea will be March 13 in the Clinton Memorial Hall.  Mark your calendars. Part of the proceeds are forwarded to the Canadian Cancer Society who are marking their 75th anniversary this year. There will be strawberry shortcake and fresh daffodils for sale.

Happy Birthday to Ann Trembath Feb. 21 and to Isabel Haining Feb. 27.

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” –    Les Brown

Zee Chevalier

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