The month of February has the distinction of hosting several notable holidays. Our first president George Washington shares the month with our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln. Add President’s Day, Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, Susan B. Anthony Day, Marti Gras and Ash Wednesday and you’ve got nearly half of the shortest month in the year designated a holiday.
This February is also special because this is Leap Year, that once-every-four-years occurrence that tries to straighten out our calendars. Whereas, a normal February would have 28 days on Leap Year we have an extra day bringing the count to 29 days.
All of this mathematical maneuvering stems from the fact that calendar days are based on the length of time it takes the earth to complete its orbit around the sun which is about 365 ¼ days. In order to synchronize the time an extra day is added.
There are some interesting facts about folks born on the 29th of February. Since they only have an actual birth date every four years they don’t rack up the numbers as quickly as those of us who add another year every year. Well, they do but they don’t. They do add another year to their lives but they don’t get to count it but every four years.
It’s like this; folks born on February 29th might say right before midnight on February 28th of a typical year, “It’s almost my birthday. Let’s count the seconds – four, three, two, and one – oops, it’s over!”
I suppose they could choose to celebrate February 28 or even March 1, but technically that’s not their real birthday.
Speaking of special dates, I have another reason to celebrate. My family has six birthdays in February and I also get to celebrate with a good friend born that month. We celebrate every year since none of them were born during Leap Year, although one granddaughter missed it by a couple of days in 1996.
A couple of the dates hold memories from my childhood. Growing up in the 40s and 50s I recall the photographs of two particular presidents that were standard fixtures in school classrooms. The faces of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln always inspired me to strive for better grades as I imagined their eyes watching me and evaluating my dedication to learning. I know that may sound whimsical, but years later when I was the teacher in the classroom I wondered if putting the two gentlemen’s photos on the wall would invoke the same response from my students as it had gotten from me.
And then there is Valentine’s Day, that magical day of the year when love abounds and can be captured in colorful valentine cards and boxes of chocolate candy wrapped in pink and red tied with a bow
Back in my day we spent classroom time the week before Valentine’s Day designing and creating our ‘mailboxes’ labeled with our names. They were placed side by side in the classroom and on that special day we collected our mailboxes to see who had declared their love for us by placing a card inside. I recall several of mine didn’t have a signature and it always made me wonder who my secret admirer could possibly be. It was enough romance to keep us entertained for weeks to come until someone accidentally let the secret slip and we had to decide the fate of our secret admirer.
Before I go let me tell you another reason this February is special. Three talented local authors, Jimmy Deas, Jeffry Boatright and David Butler will join me on Saturday, Feb. 15, at Sarabeth’s on Marion in Lake City for a book signing from 2-4 p.m. This is your personal invitation to come by and share part of your February day with us.
I welcome your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on my Facebook page at DeloresLeggettWalker.