By Jay jamison
As we luxuriated in the unusually warm weather in December, and into January, I remember a forecaster warning that the big winter dump would be coming in February. Sure enough, as if on cue, we experienced a heavy snow and bone chilling temperatures the first week of this month.
February, the month with the fewest days, makes up for this lacking in other ways. Not only are we often caught off guard with bad weather in February, the second month of the year is also loaded with holidays and other distractions.
Ground hog’s day, February 2nd was met with cloudy skies and the beginning of the big snow. However, the minders of Punxsutawney Phil, and other aspiring rodent, long-term weather forecasters, declared that the groundhog had seen its shadow and we were in for another six weeks of winter. I wonder if all the TV lights at the ceremony were the actual reason the groundhog supposedly saw its shadow.
Wait, wait! I just wrote an explanation, theorizing how a groundhog (Marmota monax) might have seen its shadow, which in some mystical way is supposed to foretell future weather. This is right up there with such whoppers as explanations about how Santa Claus gets down that impossibly narrow chimney, and old timers remembering balanced federal budgets. Maybe this mental lapse is also a kind of February thing.
February also marks the beginning of the guilt holiday season, starting with Valentine’s Day on February 14. The guilt holidays include Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Secretary’s Day, and others.
Regardless of how wonderful a person you’ve been, if you fail to give that special someone at least a card on the designated day, you’re a cad. As far as I know there is no Columnist’s Day — maybe Hallmark is still researching that one.
Super Bowl Sunday fell on February 13 this year. This isn’t exactly an official holiday, rather, it’s a bacchanal to every sort of commercialism, and there’s also a football game.
Next comes Presidents Day. February 22, Washington’s birthday, was originally set aside as a national holiday, and we out here on the prairie also like to commemorate Abraham Lincoln, who was born February 12. We should honor Washington because his presidency had no previous model to emulate and yet he successfully launched the office of the president. He also voluntarily stepped away from power after several overwhelming victories (both military and political). That’s worth commemorating. However, in 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Bill, which moved some Federal holidays to Mondays.
February 22 doesn’t always fall on a Monday, so what to do? Solution: Create a new holiday to honor George Washington, and by implication, all the other presidents, and move it to the third Monday of the month. President’s Day is the unofficially accepted name of the holiday (never adopted by Congress) and according to the Britannica website, “The day is sometimes understood as a celebration of the birthdays and lives of all U.S. presidents,” a perfectly awful idea. Most presidencies were neither particularly great nor particularly bad, but rather mediocre at best, so why celebrate them alongside the greats?
We don’t endure June or September in quiet the way we endure February. *Even though it has the fewest days, it stills seems to be the longest month of the year.