View From Here
By Katherine Veno
facts and fiction...
It is a fact that 2012 is a leap year. I have never paid too much attention
to leap year, so I decided to look it up. Since it only comes around once
every four years, I wanted to understand what it really means.
Leap year was created in 46 B. C. and later amended by Julius Caesar. When
he realized that the number of days in a year did not exactly coincide with
how long it actually took the earth to rotate around the sun. Leap Day is an
extra day added during a Leap Year making the year 366 days long.
Caesar amended the calendar and added an extra day to February, and the
first year the new calendar was used lasted fifteen months, to make up for
But even the most powerful man on earth at the time did not have it quite
right. With a 365-day year, there are not quite six hours left over; five
hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds. The Julian calendar was slightly
overcompensating, so the seasons began to get out of sync with the calendar
By the time Pope Gregory XIII came along in 1582 and changed the calendar
again (hence the term “Gregorian calendar,” the Julian calendar was off by
Gregory added the stipulation that leap year would only be observed in years
ending in “00” (I.e. 1800, 1900, 2000) if they could be divided by 400. This
allowed a slight enough compensation to balance out the minutes shorted by
each extra leap year day.
However, folks back in 1582 did not appreciate being robbed of 10 days of
their lives. The calendar that year went from October 4 directly to October
15, and people protested in the streets, believing their lives would be
In the time since, people have taken advantage of the leap day’s reputation
for strangeness and developed a few superstitions and traditions around the
It is said that on February 29, ladies may propose marriage to any single
gentleman, and he will be cursed with bad luck should he turn her down. In
many European countries, especially in upper classes of society, tradition
dictates that any man who refuses a woman her proposal of marriage while she
wears a red petticoat, has to buy her 12 pairs of gloves to hide her
embarrassment of not having an engagement ring.
But while marriage proposals are encouraged on leap day, marriages are not.
In fact, in Greece, it is considered bad luck to marry on any day of a leap
year which is a bad omen and really is for those working in the wedding
Persons born on February 29, or Leap Day, are called “Leapers” or
“Leaplings” and celebrate 75 percent fewer birthdays than the rest of us. It
was a folk legend that babies born on a Leap Day would be sickly and hard to
raise, but nobody seems to remember why.
Persons born on February 29 may celebrate their birthdays on February 28 or
March 1. For legal purposes their birthday depends on how different laws
count time intervals. In England and Wales the legal birthday of a leapling
is February 28 in common years. The chances are slim to be born on Leap Day
as only 0.0084 percent of our population attests.
So, they really do get old as fast as the rest of us, and I find it amazing
that so many years ago some people were so smart they discovered a calendar
By Emily Gail Lundy
My heroes have always been “you,” the people who are organized, have their
lives in some semblance of order, like beds made, morning dishes washed
before noon, and some sweeping concluded where it is mostly needed, this
before noon also. I usually tell myself I’ll do one of these later, much
Every drawer in your house is neatly arranged with you knowing exactly what
is in which drawer. If someone asks me where something is, and I reply it is
in the kitchen, and he complains he can’t find it. I say, “If you can’t find
it, you don’t need it anyway.”
I’m not a complete loss. I have a drawer for eating utensils. The drinking
glasses are behind one door, dishes to eat on behind another. There is one
junk drawer and one drawer for plastic, foil, wax paper, so forth. But under
the cabinet I’m still trying to get like articles behind the same door.
I love spontaneity, but it’s been conquered here. Experts say a restaurant’s
cleanliness in the kitchen can be judged by the bathrooms. Walking to our
door for entrance is our dead giveaway. And I work on it. But we’ve always
had a house that needs fixing. We say we’ll make certain improvements then
act as though we are in our fifties and have years of time.
You, there, smiling, my hero, drive in a car cleaner than ICU in a hospital
whereas I might could live in mine happily a week if I were covered in a
snow landslide. Every time I depart the auto, I dispose of all I can. I
can’t keep up, never could, never will.
And if grandchildren and grown children know I am not Miss Tidy and probably
will only decline, these I love encourage the problem to grow. Some have
clothing left here for years, but if it is in the school’s colors, I cannot
discard it. Sentimental me.
Please don’t think of me as a hoarder; even my husband believes our items
multiply in the night. But speaking of husbands, in the area of clutter, we
are alike. Only I think like items go together; he sees no sense in my rule.
He collects little things on the side of a road, busy or not, saying I bet I
can find a use for that some day. Red gas cans, all sizes, are at any
clearing in the yard. I pretend they are rosebushes, just lake bloomers. On
trash day, I place one can a week in the bottom of the biggest trash hauler
and cover it with more trash. He would throw away my favorite dress if he
knew. You probably can have guests over for a meal, get the table cleared
and the dishes washed before anyone knows it, and then sit to chat. Since no
kin helps me, I always say, “Leave every thing as it is. I have all week to
clean it up. Let’s talk. I love to talk.”
Yes, you’ve always been my hero, and in the marriage of men and women, I
suppose my husband and I were put together as no one else could have stood
When I worked, some other workers complemented me on being a multi-tasker,
students working on different items; I saw it as saving my week, my job.
Days just went that way sometimes. Now, I can’t talk and look at something
at the same time. One topic at a time please and could you speak up?
And white is a color you wear well. No spots on the front of your blouse
even at the end of your day. A miracle. Then an updated calendar hangs
somewhere appropriately with your events and appointments on it. You always
write something down, anything slightly important, AND YOU CAN FIND IT THE
My husband, when employed, had secretaries who handed him what he needed,
had his briefcase ready for his next meeting of the week, and he was ready
to go. Had I been going to a smaller meeting, my important papers would
still be on my desk or in my car. I had to depend on students for
The only good part of me is having you come by, asking me if I have time to
ride with you to the next town for something and maybe a cola. At any time
I’m ready. Whatever I was working on takes second importance, and I like
Remember Gary Morris’ version of “Did you ever know you’re my hero?” of the
eighties. Our family has used it in weddings, celebrations, etc. But never
as I have used it today. Maybe it’s my theme song because I depend on others
so much. Remember, it takes all kinds. Surely, I’m not the only “One of a
kind.” I certainly don’t want to be around anyone like me. Oh, the trips
back to some place to retrieve my purse.