Al Jolson debuted this song some 30 years ago. It goes like this: “Life is not a highway strewn with flowers. Still it holds a goodly share of bliss. When the sun gives way to April showers, here is the point you should never miss. Though April showers may come your way, they bring the flowers that bloom in May.”
Our usual highway of life isn’t adorned with flowers right now. Being sheltered in place, watching the rising number of cases and deaths has us gripped with fear, sadness, and loneliness. Things we anticipated for April are either cancelled or in serious doubt. Major League Baseball won’t start. The National Cherry Blossom Festival has been cancelled. The Easter parades won’t happened, and church services go on-line. It’s like this year, the April Fool’s Day joke is on all of us!
April has a history of tragedies. In 1906, 80 percent of San Francisco was destroyed and 3,000 people died during the Great Earthquake on April 18. In 1912, on April 15, the Titanic struck an iceberg. By 2:20 a.m. that morning more than 1,500 passengers and crew perished, as she sank beneath the icy waters. On April 6, 1917, the United States entered World War I. In that war, 16.5 million died. 20 million were wounded. And terrorism struck in Boston at the annual marathon race April 15, 2013.
April also brings us World Health Day. Established in 1948 by the World Health Organization (WHO) the 2020 theme is “Support Nurses and Midwives.” According to their website this “is the day to celebrate the work of nurses and midwives and remind world leaders of the critical role they play in keeping the world healthy. Nurses and other health workers are at the forefront of COVID-19 response - providing high quality, respectful treatment and care, leading community dialogue to address fears and questions and, in some instances, collecting data for clinical studies. Quite simply, without nurses, there would be no response.” So, on April 7, reach out to thank a nurse by text, call, or post.
One event not cancelled is “National Encourage a Young Writer Day,” on April 10. A good event for those sheltered in place with their children. You can encourage them to write something. A poem, a short story or any form of writing. Have them share it. Post it on Facebook. Have them face time with Nana and read it. Stick it on the refrigerator or mail it to mommy or daddy serving overseas. It’s both a distraction and a memory for when the world returns to normal.
Another opportunity, to engage your children is on April 19. That’s “Humorous Day.” Ask them “Why did the student eat their homework.” The proper response is “Because the teacher told them it was a piece of cake.” Then go on-line with them to find other jokes and puns to share. Another April indoor activity could be to teach your young ones how to make and enjoy an American original dish. That’s “Pigs in a Blanket Day,” on April 24. The dish is easy to teach. It only has two ingredients and they aren’t likely being hoarded right now!
You can also go outside in your yard to celebrate Arbor Day or Earth Day. Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 every year. It grew out of pro-environmental demonstrations back in 1970. It is a day to inspire education, awareness and appreciation about the earth’s environment. Arbor Day is on April 24, the last Friday of April each year. It is a holiday created to recognize the importance of trees. Either day is a perfect day to get outside, plant a tree, start a garden or share your views of the environment with the next generation.
Did you know that April 18, is Pet Owner’s Day? It’s a time to celebrate Khaleesi, Tonka or Abby. Maybe your pet isn’t a dog but a cat. Flood your thread with cute kitten pictures. If your pet is a turtle, fish, rabbit, bird or other animal show them love too! Finally, April 26 is one event I hope to be able to do in person. It’s “Hug a Friend Day.” But if I can’t, there will be plenty of chats and on-line virtual hugs to be sent. As Jolson sang, just remember: “Though April showers may come your way, they bring the flowers that bloom in May.”