A little bit about a lot of things:

• Valentine’s Day is right around the corner.....Sunday, to be exact, a holiday dedicated to love, relationships and commitment.

Actually, every day should be dedicated to nurturing, strengthening and appreciating relationships....otherwise they may not be long-lived!

But Valentine’s Day is nonetheless an opportunity to really put those relationships at the forefront and celebrating those relationships.

It is a holiday I enjoy greatly because I am quite happily married to a wonderful woman whom I deeply love. Those who have any doubt about Kat’s qualifications for angel wings need only remind themselves that she has been married to me for going on 14 years, and she still loves me faults and all, and still has her sanity.

That should qualify for sainthood, I would think.

But I also enjoy Valentine’s Day because we get to share the stories of local couples....in this case Jorge and Odilia Medeiros, Danny and Carole Silva, and Adam and Melanie Correa.

I have always enjoyed the Valentine’s Day features because the couples we interview are an inspiration.

No two stories are alike, but woven into each are the common threads of devotion, trust, respect, communication and so much more that strengthens the bonds of their marriages.

The only thing I missed this year was being able to visit with our featured couples in person, but in our pandemic era telephone interviews have become the norm.

Those features are a refreshingly welcome change of pace from the normal routine of mundane meetings, police beats and such!

Over the years, we have profiled couples who have spent decades together, those who are just starting out, and those in between.....each relationship is unique in some way. Sharing their stories is our pleasure, and it is a reminder of that which is truly important in our lives.

Getting caught up in the things around us is far too easy and common.

Sometimes we focus on that which, in perspective, is not all that important.

A life partner who is the love of your life - and having that feeling be mutual - is life’s greatest blessing.

That’s not to say marriage is all romantic cards, flowers and (if you must) chocolates. Like a carefully cultivated garden, a marriage must be tended and nurtured to thrive.

Both people in a strong relationship must be devoted to one another, know the art of compromise, be equal partners and best friends, offer a willing ear and a strong shoulder, apologize when the situation calls for it, and love deeply and always.

It helps, too, when everybody pitches in with chores, picks up their dirty socks, doesn’t track mud into the house and sometimes volunteers to help, well, just because.

Devoted couples love each other as much on the tough days (and there will be tough days) as well as the days when life just couldn’t be any better.

Partners in strong relationships also make one another better.

I know that Kat, bless her, has made me a better person, a better husband and a better parent.

She has been my saving grace, and I appreciate her every day.

We hope our readers enjoy the Valentine’s Day features in this edition....and that every day of the year we let those important in our lives know how deeply they are loved!

• Warm weather has returned, and early February has been looking more like spring than late winter.

I noticed the other day that our peach tree is beginning to come into blossom, and within a few days the annual almond blossom will be under way.

I’ve seen it for too many years to count, but the annual rebirth of nature each spring is truly remarkable to behold, isn’t it?

• Very happy to see some sports starting back up in our local high schools.....specifically, sports such as tennis, golf, cross country and track have the green light while we remain mired in the state’s “purple” tier. All are outdoor sports which lend themselves to social distancing in at least some fashion.

I wasn’t optimistic about the prospects for high school sports as the virus surged in December and into January, so this is one of those times when I am glad to have been wrong.

I’m still holding out hope for baseball and softball as well.....but less optimistic about football, basketball and volleyball, at least under the current guidelines.

We’ll see how the rest of the school year pans out in that regard.

And, speaking of schools, Gustine Unified will be resuming K-12 classroom instruction March 1....no hybrid model, but five days a week in the classroom. Students will have the option of staying on distance learning, but it will be either/or, not a combined hybrid of both.

The Newman-Crows Landing district remains fully on distance learning.....look for word by early March about whether classroom instruction will resume, and if so when and in what format.

With those latest developments, a school year like no other rolls on.....

Dean Harris the Managing Editor of the West Side Index and Gustine Press-Standard. He can be reached at dharris@mattosnews.com or by calling (209) 243-8104.