Dear Bank of Prairie Village Community~
I remember one winter day watching the 5:30 PM evening news. I was a senior in in high school.
Harry Reasoner, the legendary broadcaster, was doing the evening commentary. I was standing and staring at the TV about to head off to a late swimming practice. At that point, my senior swimming season had been a disappointment on the verge of disaster. I was nowhere near where I was projected to be. Adding to my high school misery, the inevitable high school breakup materialized over the winter break. The old girlfriend was now dating a hot shooting guard on the basketball team. To round out my high school misery trifecta, my grades were tanking. That morning our high school counselor suggested I consider the military as an alternative to college. I knew I had blown a couple of recent tests – but I began wondering if the counselor knew something about my grades I didn’t.
Adding to the angst of the moment, I was about to head off to a two and a hour practice which would be the second of the day. I had already started the day at 6 AM with a one and a half hour practice before school.
I lingered in front of the TV trying to put off going out in the 11 degree cold. I was tired, sore, and mad at the world.
Harry Reasoner’s stern expression and deep gravelly voice matched my dark mood. Jimmy Carter had just been sworn in as President a few weeks before. I thought this dark, cold winter would never end. I anticipated Harry Reasoner articulating a negative tirade on all that was wrong with the world.
As expected, stern face Harry Reasoner started his commentary in his low rumbling voice, saying “Most people hate the dark winter month of February.” (I wanted to say “Amen,” Mr. Reasoner.)
Then, and somewhat completely out of character, Harry Reasoner broke into what for him was a smile and said, “Actually, I personally like the month of February. You may not have noticed yet, but the days are getting longer. The nights are getting shorter. Statistically, the frigid weather is actually getting slightly warmer. Somewhere plans are being made for the Spring baseball season. Somewhere, under the snow, the buds of the spring flowers are forming. February is also the shortest month. It will be swiftly followed by March which I view as the harbinger of Spring. Soon the breezes will be warmer, and the days brighter. I think of February as a transition month from the dark days of winter to what will be a beautiful Spring. Let’s use this short month of February as our transition to better days. Let’s focus all this February on the warm Spring that will soon come in March.” With that Mr. Reasoner signed off with a “Thank you America and Goodnight.”
Frankly, Mr. Reasoner’s positive assessment caught me a bit by a surprise. I could usually count on Harry’s negativity to reinforce my own. I snapped off the TV and headed out in the cold for the pool. Throughout what turned out to be one of the longest and most grueling practices of the season – verging on 3 hours – I kept thinking of Mr. Reasoner’s admonishment to simply hang on through February in anticipation of the warm winds of March.
As I said, it was a miserable practice, but somewhere about halfway through, I realized, however, when this swimming season ended – it would be over with the State Championships at the end of the month.
I also realized even if I never swam again, I would soon be enjoying my senior year on the tennis team, where I could at least be outside in the sunshine hitting balls. I even dared think sometime in May there would be a senior prom. I just had to get through this miserable practice. Perhaps that practice was the first time all season I had actually dwelled on positive thoughts. I concluded my last flip turn and final lap wondering if Mr. Reasoner was right – I just needed to get through February and the world would be better in March.
At the end of that practice, our coach called us together and announced tonight’s workout had been the end of the “breakdown” period of the season. Going forward, our practices would start getting shorter as we prepared for the State Championships. In the locker room, I was almost giddy we were on the downhill side of the winter training. I began to think Mr. Reasoner was on to something. Just persevere through February – and get to March.
I remember that evening in ’77 well, as it seems without fail, at some point each February henceforth, I hit the proverbial wall of being sick and tired of the long dark winter. Whenever I find myself in this late winter “funk” I stop to think of Harry Reasoner’s commentary, and remind myself, “The days are getting longer, the nights are getting shorter, and the buds of the spring flowers are beginning to form under the snow.” I remind myself we are in transition and just need to hold out a little longer. Soon the warm southern breezes of the March Spring will start up again – and we can then put the long, dark winter behind us to enjoy the coming sunnier Days of Spring.
This year’s long, dark winter, perhaps more than most, with lockdowns, quarantines, curfews and endless cancellations, has seemed unusually long.
Nevertheless, let’s remember “The days are getting longer and the cold night are getting shorter,” as we transition through this February from the darkness of winter to the sunnier, warmer days of Spring. Looking forward to seeing you in that Spring Sunshine – and on the other side of this winter season.
Bank of Prairie Village
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“The Bank of Prairie Village ~ Home of Blue Lion Banking”~ cited March 2020 by the Kansas City Business Journal as one of the “Safest Banks in Kansas City for Your Money.”
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