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  • Last modified 121 days ago (Feb. 14, 2019)

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ANOTHER DAY IN THE COUNTRY: Staying connected

© Another Day in the Country

This is one time I’m really grateful for all the bits and pieces of artistic folderol that I tend to collect.

Jess and I decided to make our own Valentine cards this year. This is when bits of ribbon, colored papers, glitter and stickers come in handy — no matter how difficult they are to keep organized and tidy.

My kitchen has lots of room, but every flat spot on the counters and table was taken over by heart shapes, paper and paints for days. Our creations were so much fun to see that I propped the cards around and looked at them.

They’ve all been mailed now except for one that we’re delivering by hand to a neighbor — on Valentine’s Day. Lucky neighbor, getting something my sister baked. Lucky us, to have them!

A long time ago my cousin, Keith, told me about “The Sunday Morning Show” on CBS. It’s a delightful news program chock full of “good news” and restores your faith in people — something we desperately need, especially now.

Because of Valentine season, they were talking about friends on “The Sunday Morning Show,” and experts said if you have four close friends in your life you will be healthier, happier, and, I think, lucky.

Loneliness or lack of close friends is more detrimental to your health than smoking three packs of cigarettes a day. They went on to say loneliness is on the rise in spite of all these modern connective tools like social media and smart phones.

It seems, as many of the “older set” already know, that real people sitting across from you having a real conversation is the best remedy for loneliness. Reaching out to someone else, via mail or on the phone, is next best.

When I took psychology classes, the magic number of people for your ‘inner circle’ was three. The ‘inner circle’ people are the people you talk to regularly, who know what you’re doing and where to find you, know what you think, what you like and don’t like, and check up on you if they haven’t heard from you.

In this highly mobile world we live in, it’s usually older folk and teenagers who find themselves lonely. For the kids, it seems social media increases the likelihood of feeling lonely because online it appears that everyone is having fun but you.

For people over 65, we sometimes feel loneliness creeping in because our friends are getting older and they move away or they die. Or maybe, like me, you moved from California to Kansas and your kids are still living in California. I’m lucky because I now have kin living close by in Kansas, too.

Valentine’s Day is not just for lovers and sweethearts. It’s not just for kids, either. It’s a good time for all of us to think about friendship and how grateful we are for that inner circle of people who make life grand. It’s time for little notes that say, “When I think of you, I smile,” and “Knowing you makes my heart sing,” because it really does.

Your heart works better, your liver functions more effectively, your blood flows quicker through your whole being because you have friends — people who love and care for each other, people who are connected. We need it, so let’s give it to each other.

“We need to make a few more cards,” I said to my sister as we checked the list of who we wanted to send a Valentine to. We had to be a little selective or it would be like sending Christmas cards all over again. There were so many shapes and sizes of envelopes that Jess needed a bag to carry them all to the post office.

I wish I could send a Valentine card to everyone who reads this column, but I don’t even know most of your addresses. You’ll have to imagine bright-colored hearts on a white card, glitter and ribbon coming your direction — not in an envelope but via newsprint, sent with love, on another day in the country.

Last modified Feb. 14, 2019

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