By Keith Whitson
I changed the date at the top of this page to correspond with the Roman calendar marking this the halfway point of the month. The Ides of March is a phrase derived from the Latin idus.
It was Shakespeare who brought us the phrase “Beware the Ides of March.” “The Tragedy of Julius Caesar” immortalized this dark moment, written by William Shakespeare around 1599.
Supposedly, in 44 BC, a seer told Julius Caesar that his downfall would come no later than the Ides of March. Caesar ignored him, and when the fated day rolled around he joked with the seer, “The Ides of March have come.” The seer replied, “aye, Caesar; but not gone.”
Caesar continued on to a senate meeting at the Theatre of Pompey, and was murdered by as many as 60 conspirators. Ironically, the spot where Caesar was assassinated is protected in today’s Rome as a no-kill cat sanctuary.
March also brings us a wide array of interesting quirkiness. For one, there is the saying “In like a lion, out like a lamb.” If it is opposite coming in the saying then goes “In like a lamb, out like a lion. I hate to say, but I have found this saying typically true. However, I think the lion and lamb aren’t sure which one is in charge this year with all of the unusual weather.
March also brings us St. Patrick, who was actually born in Roman Britain at the end of the 4th century AD and taken to Ireland by slavers when he was a teenager.
The exact place of his birth is debatable as some say Scotland and some say Wales but, either way, he’s Irish now.
Patrick is said to have banished the snakes from Ireland but in fact, Ireland never had any snakes as the weather was too miserable for the cold-blooded reptiles.
Saint Patrick’s Crozier was honored with devotion for centuries in Dublin’s Christ Church only to be publicly burned in 1538 under the orders of the archbishop, George Browne.
Maybe that sadness is why the day is known for the large consumption of beer. The global corporate-relations director of Guinness says 5.5 million pints of Guinness are sold on any given day, but this figure rises to 13 million on St. Patrick’s Day.
As a side note, if you are looking for some good local St. Patrick’s Day fun, check out the Choo Choo Cafe. The historic landmark will be open this Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. with special appetizers, Irish food and beer sampling.
The second floor of the business will feature tables and lounge areas. You can also take to the large dance space as you tap your feet to the music of the Spivey Mountain Boys. The Choo Choo Cafe is located at 111 South Main.
Another date associated with March is Daylight Saving Time. I am not a fan of this totally life confusing method. President Trump, “Make America great again” and end this time tampering measure.
Daylight saving time in the US started as an energy conservation trick during World War I, and became a national standard in the 1960s. The idea is to shift the number of daylight hours we get into the evening. So if the sun sets at 8 pm instead of 7 pm, we would presumably spend less time with the lights on in our homes at night, saving on electricity.
It’s like the whole country has been given one hour of jet lag. One hour of lost sleep sounds like a small change, but we humans are fragile, sensitive creatures. Small disruptions in our sleep have been shown to alter basic indicators of our health and dull our mental edge. Being an hour off schedule means our bodies are not prepared for the actions we partake in at any time of the day.
On March 20th, spring begins or possibly summer, winter or fall here in East Tennessee. Apparently it is easier to lose our seasons than it is to lose daylight saving time. I spent last summer watering everything in my yard to keep it alive. I am now grabbing up every cardboard box I can find to cover things and protect them. School snow days have now turned into heavy frost days.
For some, the month brings March Madness. The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament features teams from the Division I level of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), to determine the national championship. The tournament was created in 1939 by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, and was the idea of Ohio State University coach Harold Olsen.
March 21st will also mark the 11th anniversary of Twitter and the preferred method of communication for our newest President Donald Trump. .
Not only is March Women’s History Month, but it’s also American Red Cross Month and Fire Prevention Month. Another popular holiday is Read Across America on March 2, which is Dr. Seuss’ birthday.
In the words of Dr. Seuss “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.”
I will end with another Seuss saying. “Time marches on and so does this month. It will be summer soon and that is enough.”