Winter in Massachusetts; Day 52

21 02 2011

Happy Third Monday In February

Snow has returned to the South Shore, two days after the ice that had become very attached to our driveway had finally finished resisting the watery attentions of the sun and allowed itself to be disposed of into the garden next door.

Yet again, I sit staring out the window at the winter wonderland that I thought was close to ending. The only thing that cheers me up is that the small children (who have spent a lot of time tubing/shouting/falling over/crying) that live 100 yards away seem to be out for the day – probably because today is another Federal Holiday and the schools are out for the week.

Today is Presidents Day or (to be more accurate) Washington’s birthday – which actually falls on February 22.

Another chance for the country to celebrate its glorious past by honoring those who have served with distinction at the highest office in the land. And another chance for retailers to highlight the amazing deals that shoppers can treat themselves to on their day off.

America has a lot of these Federal Holidays – 10 placed throughout the year at convenient intervals (11 if it follows a Presidential election). Obviously there are the big boys – Independence, Labor, Memorial, Veterans, Thanksgiving, Christmas (for those that choose to celebrate the birth of a carpenter’s kid) – and then there are some that are dedicated to important figures in US History – Martin Luther King Jr, Chris Columbus (foreign sailor, not the director of Harry Potter and the writer of Gremlins) – with the standard global day off after the end of the past year.

So Presidents Day is another good excuse to take a long weekend and raise a glass to former leaders. What is strange to me is that the date is never set in stone, it just falls on the third monday in January. Some years it will actually be on GW’s birthday, but most often it could coincide with other notable dates in history.

Today is no exception. February 21st is also :

  • Robert Mugabe’s birthday – who has marked the occasion by arresting “subversives” who were plotting against him, who may have been planning a protest based upon what is happening in the Middle East.
  • The day that Malcolm X was assassinated in 1965
  • Actor Anthony Daniels – better known as C3PO – turns 65 and is unlikely to celebrate with a Star Wars themed party.
  • Same goes for Kelsey Grammar (56), still unable to shake Frasier (although his voiceover work as Sideshow Bob on The Simpsons has some merit)
  • A day for waiting by the letter-box for your invitation to the Royal Wedding
  • Just another normal day in Afghanistan – dozens injured by a suicide bomber
  • The 52nd day of the year.
  • The day after my wedding anniversary.

Presidents Day 2011, a day for remembering the leaders of the past and for realising that the world continues to move at its own pace.

Unless of course you are watching more snow fall on Massachusetts. My day will be about clearing annoying white powder off my car. Again.

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