Valentine’s Day is always kinda strange.
Ash Wednesday is always sacred-strange.
So when you schedule them for the same day, you’re scraping the stratosphere of sugary soulful strangeness.
If there was ever a doubt that God has a good sense of humor,* this year’s Christian calendar should put it to rest.
Ash Wednesday falls on Valentine’s Day.
Easter Sunday falls on April Fool’s Day.
(The Feast of St. Joseph falls on National Chocolate Caramel Day, but we’ll leave that one between St. Joseph and Mr. Cadbury.)
You may be feeling a little heartsick or sinsick or just plain foolish right now. Maybe you have a Valentine. Maybe you want a Valentine. Maybe you’re just trying to figure out whether or not it’s OK to eat chocolate Valentine candy on one of the most solemn fast days. (Surely Necco wafers are OK, since they are made of caulking material rather than food, but that’s hardly helpful.)
Then there’s the mere matter of February. We’re smack-dab in the center of generalized seasonal affective awfulness, cold greys and funky flus and fever-dreams of geraniums. We have confidence that spring will come again, but if we find ourselves in a funk, it’ll take more than a Funky Friday to set us free, although that helps.
Take heart, my little Conversation Hearts; you are not strange alone.
Just in time for Ashentine’s Day, four of Tabby’s Place’s female felines have been shaved down to ultimate strangeness.
Rest assured this barbering bonanza was necessary, and in the girls’ best interest. When you cannot or will not either groom yourself or let anyone else brush your long ladylocks without bloodletting, you shall be shaven.
Each of our fresh-shorn sheroes is taking her transformation differently. Gentle Sophia recognizes that she’s suffered a grave indignity, but takes the general attitude of “don’t treat people as bad as you are; treat them as good as you are.”
Faye feels the same way. Faye will treat people as good as she is. Faye makes no pretense of being a good girl.
Then there’s Rogue, who isn’t new to this fiesta of shame. Shaved more frequently than a block of mozzarella, Rogue will not, shall not, must not detangle her own hair NOT NOW NOT EVER. So she shrugs off her short-haired strangeness. Another day, another ‘do.
But perhaps the sweetest shavee in this season’s salon was one Melanie. With her sensible short hair, you might not expect Mel to make the list of Shes Who Must Be Shaven. But old age and a general “who gives a flying patoot” ‘tude have turned Melanie off from grooming. And so, our sticky-uppy-haired heroine needed a bit of help.
Don’t tell our other Ashentine ladies, but Mel got some special treatment. Being approximately 840 years old and rather frail, Melanie was lavished with a bubble bath in a heart-shaped tub, by which I mean the basin of the surgical table in our vet room. There were bubbles; there were kisses; there was the gentlest of blow-dries after the event. Would you believe that there were escape attempts by Mel anyway?
At any rate, if you find yourself feeling strange or sobby or stabby this Valentine’s Ash WednesDay, you are so not alone. Whether you’re getting kissed, or cuddling up with a bowl of ramen and a repeat of This is Us, you are loved, you are lovable, and you are not as angry as Faye.
*And there shouldn’t be, given the existence of the platypus and the blobfish and you and me and Jason Kelce and Arby’s.