Counting Our Blessings on the Eve of Sweetest Day

Mother and her child holding hands in heart shape framing on natI may have missed the section, but when I went shopping at my local greeting card store yesterday, I could not find even one card for Sweetest Day.

Normally, that would tell me that Sweetest Day isn’t really a thing. But a little research reveals that it is. In fact, this year marks its 100th anniversary.

The original Sweetest Day, marked in 1916, actually had a different name: Candy Day. Its originators wanted it to be a day on which people would be generous with one another, even in small ways. For many, that meant a gift of candy or other sweets.

The idea was that even the smallest token presented to a person in great need or under great stress could make a world of difference. It’s not a romance thing like Valentine’s Day. It’s a people thing.

I may have seen an example of it last night when we stopped at Arby’s to pick up dinner after a long day at work. Two young men, probably in their early twenties with stringy hair and hands in need of some soap, were in line just ahead of us, those hands filled with nickels and dimes. They had been examining the “value” section of the menu, and had decided on “junior” roast beef sandwiches.

Just as they were about to order, an older gentleman, probably in his forties, also in need of some soap, stepped up to them and handed each a handful of quarters. “I had a good day today,” he said. “Enjoy.”

I’m pretty sure what I saw was one homeless person helping two others by sharing his day’s bounty of collected change.

The younger men were surprised and delighted. “God bless you,” one said to the older man. Then he said it again.

Those of us who are fortunate enough to be able to pay for our roast beef sandwiches with paper or plastic should be counting our blessings today and every day — and that includes on Sweetest Day, which in 2016 will be celebrated tomorrow.

My bride prefers sweet wine, so I think I’ll surprise her with a chilled bottle at dinner tomorrow. I’d better go hide it behind the lettuce and leftover sandwiches now…

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