Monday, February 29, 2016

Leap Back February

Thirty days hath September
April, June and November
All the rest have thirty-one
Excepting February alone
Which only has but twenty-eight days clear
And twenty-nine in each leap year

Back to basics with my nephew: hand washing his clothes

February is an interesting month.   It is the month in which Black History is celebrated in the United States of America.  It is also the only month in the year that carries twenty-eight days and then four years later twenty-nine days.   Whenever this happens, the year is called a leap year.  To prove that it is indeed a leap year, the year in question can be divided by the number four without leaving a remainder.   The year that we are now in is 2016 so do the math for yourselves. The twenty-ninth and last day of February is referred to as a leap day.  This is the day when “Happy leap day” echoes all around us.  People are so enthused and committed to say “Happy leap day” because February 29th will not make it onto the calendar again for another four years.

So, what is the scientific reasoning behind February and its number of days?  Who decided to lessen the days in February, keeping it under thirty days at all times?  Or, which person decided that it would be great to play a birthday trick on the people who were born on February 29th?  The answers must be in the fairy tales and nursery rhymes. Was it the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood?  Or, was it the characters in Hey Diddle-Diddle? Whatever the reasons are, the people born February 29th, are out of the loop for four years when it comes to their birth date. Inasmuch as this may seem cruel, in my opinion they should consider themselves blessed.  Blessed with a day in any month to celebrate their birthday.

Freedom is one of the qualities exercised among the people of color during the month of February as they celebrate Black History. It is a time when society gets the opportunity to absorb the past and present in the lives of black people. They read about the struggles, the successes, and the triumphs. The positions they hold in society: inventors, educators, engineers, scientists, researchers, doctors, lawyers, nurses, entrepreneurs, leaders, preachers, beauticians, cooks, sanitation workers and the list goes on and on.  Most importantly are the farmers who provide the fuel for our bodies…food and nutrition.  Some people require an extra amount during Black History month to stabilize the energy used in cussing, sighing and swearing about the atrocious acts that were carried out on black people in the past.  It is not an easy feat reading the barrage of articles across social media which detail the horrible journeys.  It is just as bad viewing the documentaries on television and attending the various recitals held in and around communities. 

To tell the truth, February certainly has it days filled with emotions when it comes to celebrating Black History.  It is the only month that hosts the most: Oh fuck!  Those fuckers!  What the hell! I can’t understand it! Why?! I didn’t know! What a wicked act!  Ain’t that a bitch!  This is some shit!  Sometimes I can’t resist chiming in with my Jamaican expression: Kiss mi neck-back!  Equally is the propensity to be blasphemous: My God! Oh God! Jesus Christ!  We learn more about our black history every February.  My Granny would have said, what was hidden from the wise and old, has now revealed to the babe and suckling. 

Whereas the course of history cannot be changed, perhaps in order to control emotions, Black History should be recognized throughout the year, not just in a single month. Furthermore, black people are constantly making strides, making a mark in society and also understanding that they can rise above any adversity.  The most rewarding comfort in all of this is to know and see that the twenty first century has given hope to black people.  I have seen a bright example, a black man, Barack Obama, President of the United States of America.  It doesn’t matter that his mother was white and his father was black.  He is still considered a black man…not half white and half black.

At the end of the day, as I view the Black History celebrations, something within me tells me that to be connected to the past is not a bad thing.  The past is a blue print.  It rejuvenates creativity.  So in honor of Black History, I have decided to share some things old and some things new through the eyes of creativity.

Appleton Rum bottle and Snapple bottle for storing beverages

 Ovaltine plastic container and Milo can used as sugar and salt containers

 Herring can used as spoon-rest

Sweetened condensed milk can used as utensils holder

Bevy of containers

Peas cans used as napkin holder, and utensils and bone containers

Bevy of containers

Pill bottles used to store jewelry, hair accessories and other items

Tah-tah!  Without a past there would be no future.

Grace Dunkley-Asphall, Copyright © 2016

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