A month ago, in my column about March Madness, I cautioned that this year, the month of March would have a hard time matching the furious pace of February for local events and activities.
I was wrong. I have noticed no drop off in happenings because here in paradise, March is still very much in season. It is a month when there is never a shortage of events and entertainment. Indeed there has been a lot going on around this town from theater to sports to politics and beyond.
However, in many parts of the nation, March is sort of a transition month as winter turns into spring. If March was personified by Rodney Dangerfield, it would say, “I don’t get no respect.”
What’s in a month. Well, if it’s March, it is 31 days and not much else. And those are running out for 2012. March is even bereft of holidays unless you’re Irish and by the turnout at St. Patrick Day events here, it appeared that a large percentage of Neapolitans were Irish, for that day at least.
And true, occasionally Easter agrees to move to March, but probably does so grudgingly. After all, who wants to march (with a small “m”) down Fifth Avenue in New York City in their Easter finery in the biting winds and cold weather usually found there in March.
So what has happened to poor old March? At one time March was a much more prominent month. In fact there was a time when the month of March actually began the year. That was eons ago, but even in more recent times March was far more conspicuous as a month of important dates than it is today.
For years the presidential inauguration was held on March 1 and for many years the federal income tax was due on March 15. But those events were shifted years ago to January and April, respectively.
Sure, to make up for removing those dates from the March calendar, the government did move up the start of Daylight Saving Time to mid-March. This adds a little recognition for the month. It also gives the northern states an extra hour to shovel snow and those of us in Florida an extra hour at the beach, pool or golf course. Life isn’t always fair, especially in March.
On the other hand, in sports, March is still the month for baseball’s spring training although Naples remains a city without a team to call its own. And most of the NCAA college basketball championship is played in March, although the tournament ends with the championship game in April. That’s OK in my house since my interest in this year’s event faded in March when my Ohio Bobcats were eliminated by North Carolina.
And speaking of Ohio and March, George Clooney’s hit movie about a presidential primary in Ohio was called the “Ides of March.” Yes, March is a big month for presidential primaries, but not a big month for presidential birthdays.
In that regard, March has slipped badly. While three of our first 10 presidents — James Madison, Andrew Jackson and James Tyler — were born in March, there has only been one since and that was Grover Cleveland. However, it should be noted that Cleveland is the only president to have served two nonconsecutive terms and thus is listed both as our 22nd president and our 24th president.
Mitt Romney is the only candidate, including President Barack Obama, among this year’s leading presidential hopefuls who was born in March. Could he become our 45th president and the first born in March to occupy the White House since 1897?
Those will be his Marching orders if he wins the nomination.