March – A Special Month

March is kind of a funny month, and I’m not talking about “In like a lion, out like a lamb.” However, it does give you a good excuse to dig up that old John Belushi performance from Saturday Night Live (Available on Youtube, of course.)

March has got St. Patrick’s Day (although one politically correct school principal wants to change it to “O’Green Day”). Regardless, it’s a day when everybody gets to be Irish, whether you wish to or not. And that includes the O’Bernsteins, the O’Smielgewski’s, the O’Rodriguez’s and the O’Chans.

March gives you the opportunity to switch to Daylight Savings Time – sometimes referred to as “National Screw Up Your Circadian Rhythm Day.” March also has the first day of Spring. There’s the Ides of March (watch out Caesar!), and the Feast of St. Joseph when the swallows return to Capistrano.

For having no official holidays, i.e. one that gives you a paid day off work, it’s a busy time.

Well, there is one official holiday, at least in Northern Ohio – Buzzard Day. Tradition has it that in Hinckley, Ohio a barn burnt down and the buzzards (turkey vultures, actually) swarmed to feast on the roasted pigs, or cows, or whatever – no one is 100% sure what the barn held or if it really existed. In any case, the legend continues that every year on March 15th the buzzards return. On the weekend closest to the 15th there’s a celebration traditionally including a pancake breakfast. After all, when I say “buzzard” you immediately think of pancakes, now don’t you?

Years ago the powerhouse rock and roll radio station in Cleveland, WMMS started calling itself “The Buzzard.” It’s still around although I haven’t listened to it since I left Ohio in 1993. Of course if they cater to the same listeners, “Powerhouse Rock and Roll” is now pronounced “Oldies” in most radio markets.

It’s kind of funny how we’ll take something tremendously unattractive, like buzzards, and make a big deal out of them.

Doylestown, Ohio got overrun with skunks in August one year, so they began to make a big deal out of “Skunk Day” each year. There were the usual small town events – parades and such and even a ham radio special event station. Hams traditionally exchange special postcards acknowledging their contacts which are called QSL cards; QSL is a Morse Code abbreviation for “I acknowledge receiving you.” If you “worked” (i.e. made a ham radio contact with) the special event station in Doylestown on Skunk Day you’d get a slightly different confirmation than the usual card. It would be a scratch and sniff (yes, skunk scented) certificate.

So in that spirit, I recommend that everyone immediately go out and find some ugly critter and petition your local government to adopt it as a mascot and have a big hoopla. If you don’t have a favorite, may I recommend the armadillo, opossum, nutria and muskrat as excellent choices?

Don’t try for frogs – Rayne, Louisiana long ago declared itself the Frog Capital.

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