2012-02-23 / The Walrus Says

The Walrus Says

BY JIM MUNRO

Wednesday is leap day. There hasn’t been one for four years and there won’t be another one until 2016. It’s an extra (intercalary) day added during a leap year and brings with it some 2,000 years of traditions and superstitions.

For example, according to an old Irish legend, St. Bridget struck a deal with St. Patrick to allow women to propose to men on that day. And, in Scotland, some consider it unlucky for someone to be born on leap day. In Greece it’s said to be unlucky for couples to marry during a leap year, and especially on leap day.

In some places, the day is known as Bachelors’ Day. A man is expected to pay a penalty, such as a gown or money, if he refuses a marriage proposal from a woman on leap day. In many European countries, tradition dictates that any man who refuses a woman’s proposal has to buy her 12 pairs of gloves so she can hide the embarrassment of not having an engagement ring.

So, why do we need this day? It’s to keep our calendar in alignment with Earth’s evolutions around the sun. It takes the Earth approximately 365.242199 days to circle once around the sun. If we don’t add a day on Feb. 29 every four years, we would lose almost six hours yearly off our calendar. After only 100 years, our calendar would be off by 24 days.

So ladies, next Wednesday get down on one knee and pop the question. But, put off the nuptials until next year.

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There were festive goingson last Thursday at McQuade’s Marketplace as four employees adorned in very colorful and creative hats celebrated their February birthdays. Wishing each other many returns were Josh Brown, 18, John Williamson, 61, Jane Payne, 61, and Laura Brown, 65.

Hugs all around please!

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Good response to John A. Murphy’s trivia question, Who regularly uttered the following: “Great Caesar’s ghost. Don’t call me ‘chief!’”? Responding with the correct answer were Elizabeth Mancini, Cheryl Fernstrom, Sally Gates Landreville, Kurt Nelson and Ann Zartler. Elizabeth wrote, “The words were spoken by Perry White in the Superman comics and TV show. He was editor-inchief of the Metropolis newspaper, the Daily Planet and the boss of reporters Clark Kent (aka Superman), Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane, among others. I can still hear the inflections in his voice when he uttered those quotes.”

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There were three different responses to our question of who were the dump keepers at the original dump on North Road. Fran and Susan Rembijas say it was Jack and Janet Caswell. Marilyn Dutton believes it was Frank and Isabel Pemantell, and Andy Brown says it was Stewart Gladding.

Paul Sprague agrees with the Rembijases. “The dump keepers were Jack and Janet Caswell. The old dump used to have a sign, which depicted Jack driving his bulldozer. Now, remember Jack and Janet were both sizable folks. The sign showed Jack overflowing (his body) from the seat of the bulldozer. You could often find Janet wading through the piles of trash just looking for stuff. Yes, fond memories of the dump!”

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Kathleen Golini will be 61 on Sunday. Hugs, please!

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Maggie Bulmer writes of a reaction she received for her comments in the Feb. 16 column concerning the Wounded Warrior Project. “Just want to let you know that your column is read widely. No sooner was the Jamestown Press on the streets on Thursday than I received a phone call from Adrian in Sen. Jack Reed’s office. She wanted to tell me that the senator was very concerned with care of our vets and working hard to see that they are treated fairly and was sorry that I had not received an answer from the senator’s offi ce when I wrote to him about my concerns. Thanks for extending the power of the press to me. It gets things moving.”

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There is more on the casino. Richard Allphin writes that the word “casino” doesn’t always involve gambling. He quotes the Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia: “A small country house; a lodge; a summer house or retreat. A clubhouse or public room used for social meetings, gaming, dancing, music, etc.; a public dancing saloon.”

Jacob Maquire emailed, “The Jamestown Casino or Shoreby Hill Club was moved from its first location in 1911. A ballroom and restaurant were located at the casino. A few dances each week were held there, including a popular one on Saturday nights. The building is now a private residence and is located half a block north of the Bay View Condominiums. After World War II, the Conanicut Yacht Club took over these activities.”

John Quinn wrote “nitpicking” my use of the verb “was” in my inquiry as to the location of the casino and at the same time answers the question of where the casino was prior to 1911.

“The casino building was originally constructed on a lot in the area bordered on the east by Priscilla Road and on the west by Standish Road in about 1898 and was moved to the foot of Longfellow Road in 1911. I have a photograph of the original building in its old location hanging in our front hall at 7 Union St., which I would be delighted to show you – it’s amazing to see the changes which have taken place in Shoreby Hill since then. I have the photograph only because my parents in 1941 purchased their house on Longfellow Road right in front of the lot on which the casino building stood. Needless to say my folk’s house, which was built in 1903, isn’t even in the photo. My mother sold the house in the early 1970s when she moved into a nursing home. I grew up there in summers as a kid.”

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A leap year poser:

I will wait for you,

Growing love but like water,

Time will always slip through,

I will wait for you,

But please come soon.

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Kudos to the town DPW for reinstalling our newspaper sleeve in front of our house after the original was knocked down and run over by a snowplow.

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In recent weeks we have seen last Monday’s holiday spelled in newspapers and on TV as Presidents Day, President’s Day and Presidents’ Day. What should be the correct spelling?

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Be true!

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Call in your stuff to 829-2760 or 423-0383, or email me at jtnwal rus@hotmail.com. Thank you.

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