Thank heaven, winter’s over. I thought it would never end. It dragged on for a whole week. But now everything’s back to normal. It’s raining again.
We’ve rounded the corner into February. The next thing you know it will be Valentine’s Day with hearts and cupids and beautiful things like that. I hate Valentine’s Day. The only valentine I got last year was from my tax preparer. Oh, wait, I also had a very nice card from some alternative funeral organization reminding me that cremation is “simple and affordable” and asking me to “like” them on Facebook.
My last real valentine came from a gentleman who was not exactly attentive. As a matter of fact, he wasn’t exactly a gentleman, either. He only belatedly remembered that he had failed to select a romantic remembrance for me. This caused him to brake abruptly in the middle of the Thrifty Save Drugstore parking lot, leaving me with my forehead resting on the dashboard of his truck with the motor running. He returned too soon to have made a very careful selection and thrust the chosen valentine in through the window, unsigned and still in its brown bag. I still have the card. Since it’s unsigned, I might be able to use it again. Except that it says, “Happy Valentine’s Day to Our Pastor.” I’ve still got the bag, too.
So I don’t like Valentine’s Day, but I do love February. There’s something going on every minute; more than 100 holidays, official and nonofficial, according to one calendar of events, Apples4 theteacher.com. But most noteworthy is that since this is a leap year, it’s time to celebrate one of my favorite holidays. Leap Day on Feb. 29 is the extra day that comes every four years. We can use it to do all the things we’ve promised ourselves we’d do if we only had a little more time.
It’s a real holiday. According to Irish Legend, Leap Day was started by St. Patrick at the urging of St. Brigid of Ireland, and not by Lil Abner of the comics as I always believed. On Leap Day, for instance, a woman can officially ask a man to marry her.
But now here’s the good part. Pay attention. Did you realize that if a gentleman refuses a lady’s proposal on Leap Day, he has to give her a gift? Traditionally, it must be a gown, or 12 pairs of gloves, or money – something like that. The gloves, apparently, are so she can keep her ringless hands covered for the whole year.
Now we’re getting somewhere. I’m betting I know lots of fellows who wouldn’t like to marry me. I can probably build a whole wardrobe. Then I’ll have something to wear for my Leap Day party.
I try to plan a party to give everyone the chance to catch up with something they missed during the last four years because there just wasn’t time. With any luck these festivities all include food in some way and I don’t even have to cook. In past years, we’ve remembered anniversaries and even a belated Christmas. One young couple announced that they were prepared to celebrate their wedding night, which they had missed when their flight to Rio was canceled. Nobody looked at anybody for a minute. Then the husband, a chef, prepared a very romantic dinner for everyone to share, and then they went off to conclude the festivities privately. We were all certainly relieved.
There were more than a few tears shed the year that a friend brought favors and a cake with candles, and we sang “Happy Birthday” in honor of his dad, with whom he’d reunited too late to share that special day. It’s great to think there can be a second chance even in imagination. Think of how often we’ve said, “If only I had one more day.” We should celebrate every day, of course, but to borrow from Humphrey Bogart’s “Casablanca”drawl, “We’ll always have Leap Day.”
It’s settled then. We’ll get together Feb. 29. Don’t worry if you haven’t gotten your invitation. I meant to get them in the mail, but I just didn’t have the time.
Dorothy Wilhelm is a professional speaker and humorist. Get complete list of February Holidays at sixtyplusdatebook.com and Downsizersclub.com. Contact Dorothy at itsnevertoolate.com or email her at Dorothy@itsnevertoolate.com