During my grade school years, February 28th  was undoubtably one of my favorite days of the year.  It was a day of triple celebration that had nothing, but everything to do about me.  The best thing about celebrating February 28 was that the celebration began the day before. 

My favorite candy bar when I was young, and come to think of it even now, was a Milky Way bar.  And I am old enough to remember when candy bars were large enough to fill the entire wrapper.  Nowadays when you purchase a treat of most any kind, when you open it up, the treat seems to have disappointedly shrunk during shipment from the factory.  But there was a time when you opened the wrapper and you were not disappointed.

I had a classmate by the name of Amy whose birthday fell on February 28.  My favorite thing about Amy was that her favorite candy bar was also a Milky Way bar.  Not only did Amy always bring of all us classmates a Milky Way bar as a treat on her birthday, but there was no skimping.  We had two classes of each grade at St Jude when I was a student there.  Amy’s parents, and therefore Amy herself, was generous to not only bring a candy bar for everyone in both classes, she brought us the big “King Size” Milky Way.

Amy’s birthday treat wasn’t the only candy bar that we got that day.  February 28 was also the birthday of our pastor, Father Baier.  Father Baier gave every student in the school an O Henry candy bar because that was his favorite.  He came to each classroom and personally passed them out to make sure every child, and the teacher got one.  He also gave us the “King Size” candy bar.  I have always been a fan of generosity, especially when it benefitted me.  It was almost better than Halloween because you didn’t have to go door to door to get them, and they weren’t the little sample-sized candies.  They were delivered right to our desk, large and delicious.

Father Baier’s generosity did not stop at the mere candy bar level.  He provided us with the ultimate gift for every child.  He gave us all the day off of school!  That’s why we got those two candy bars on February 27,because February 28 was a school holiday.  I don’t think such generosity is even legal today with regulated class hours, school bus schedules and both parents many times working away from home.  Father Baier I recall was a serious, but happy priest.  I’m sure if someone would have asked him what his greatest gift was, his answer would have centered on his ministerial priesthood.  But in my eyes, as a young school kid, having the authority to call off school for a day was right up there!      

Lastly, and most personally, February 28 is also my brother Mike’s birthday.  My parents didn’t make a big deal about celebrating birthdays with special presents, but there was likely going to be cake for dessert after supper.  Mike’s favorite cake was chocolate with fluffy white frosting and shredded coconut.  Conveniently for me, that was also one of my favorite cakes as well.  Well, any cake my mother baked was one of my favorites, but I was definitely fond of that one.

So, two king-sized candy bars, birthday cake for dessert, and a holiday from school was an annual multiplication of blessings that came every February for seven years of my young life.  In my early age I was happy for myself.  In my more “seasoned” years now, I can reflect gratefully on those others.  They are all three in my thoughts and in my prayers today.  And I am grateful that I can look at the mirror these days, and see someone besides me.  God is so generous!

Consider this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Corinthians 9:6 

His Peace <><

Deacon Dan

Photo by David Becker on Unsplash