February: a month that deserves to be only 28 days long
They are the 672 longest hours of the year.
February is a tedious slog in these parts. Often cold and almost constantly gray. The first five days of the 2013 edition packed snow--not enough to earn us a day off from work/school but just enough to louse up the morning commute and wreck your most recent car wash. How bad was it? Deer are using my ride as a salt block.
February 2nd is Groundhog Day which is a big party in parts of Pennsylvania but an exercise in false hope for the rest of us who actually believe the mammal's "prediction." We get Valentine's Day on the 14th--woe to the poor bastard who swings and misses on the occasion. Think it's cold now? No matter the forecast on the 15th, it'll be the Klondike where you live if you forget. You could be in chateau le bow wow til the 4th of July or until high temps crack 70, whichever comes first.
There was a time when February was my favorite month, bar none: when I was a kid, because within it rests my birthday. Adding a year is a huge deal when you're a child--mom always made an angel-food birthday cake, and the parents always got me swell gifts. One year, I got a Roger Maris baseball game--had to be '62, the birthday after Maris broke the single season home-run record. It consisted of a metal sheet flecked with holes and a bat on a spring that struck a marble. You moved around the bases based on which hole the marble landed in.
This is how we played, kids, in the days before computers and EA Sports. And yes, TV was still black and white.
A few years later, the only thing I wanted in the entire world was a GI Joe. It triggered great debate in the Mueller house as my big day drew near: I'd whine and beg for my "action figure" while my sister would tell my parents of the shame/embarrassment she'd have to endure by being the only middle-school girl whose brother was playing with a doll.
Remember, this is the early 60's: boys got trucks and guns. And never mind the fact I already had a Johnny Seven in my toy box...uh, playground arsenal.
I did get the GI Joe, and my sister didn't have to change schools. Boys playing with toys linked to the military industrial complex became commonplace.
Birthdays remained fun until I turned 18--when I could legally drink/vote--and 21, which meant you were universally "legal". They lost a bit of luster as they grew in number.
There's really nothing I pine for this time around, other than a quiet dinner with my wife and kids. No need for gifts. My waist line doesn't need the birthday cake, although cake means candles and a wish, one I harbor each February but one that has yet to come true.
Could the day after my birthday be Opening Day?