Leaping at the chance to celebrateOnce every four years, the cosmic balance is preserved in one day – February 29. Leap Day is especially sacred to those who are born within the magical 24-hour window. Others have chosen the day to make their own special memories.
By: Crystal Dey, Alexandria Echo Press
Once every four years, the cosmic balance is preserved in one day – February 29. Leap Day is especially sacred to those who are born within the magical 24-hour window. Others have chosen the day to make their own special memories.
Leap years were created by Julius Caesar to keep the seasons from shifting off course. The Earth’s rotation is actually 365.2422 days long. If the day had not been added to our shortest month, after 100 years the seasons wouldn’t jive with the calendar by 25 days.
While some people just take the extra day in the year for what it is – an extra 24 hours. Others consider the year to be unlucky.
Rome burned in a leap year. General George Custer fought the Battle of Little Bighorn in a leap year. In 1912, another leap year, the Titanic sank.
Then again, the Pilgrims landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts; Benjamin Franklin conducted his lightning experiment and gold was discovered in California during leap years.
A superstition attached to February 29 in Greece, is that a marriage performed on this day will be doomed. Not according to Michelle and Todd Klimek of Brandon. The two were married on February 29, 2008. They will celebrate their first wedding anniversary this year.
“I get a gift every year for our anniversary, but this year should be ‘wow’,” Michelle said. “We’ll just have to wait and see.”
For now, Michelle hopes the weather holds off long enough for them to go out for a dinner alone. The couple has five children.
Sylvester and Beverly Schmidt Jr. of Alexandria were engaged on February 29, 1964. Their granddaughter, Kailynn Strater, said as a child it was confusing to calculate the total years since their engagement anniversary. Now Strater just says, “Happy 12th engagement anniversary!”
February 29 is sometimes called Sadie Hawkins Day, a day when women are permitted to propose to men or ask them out on a date, or to a Sadie Hawkins Day dance. That’s what happened to John Herdan of Lake Latoka when his wife, Judy, proposed to him on February 29, 1976. Sadie Hawkins Day is also the first Saturday in November.
Herdan’s brother-in-law, Brian, will celebrate his second 16th birthday this year on February 29.
LEAP YEAR BIRTHDAYS
One little leapling will be celebrating her 3rd birthday this year. Emma Robertson, born in 2000, was determined at a very young age to make her entrance into the world spectacular. Emma’s mother, Jodi, was due on February 18, but Emma had other plans.
Emma’s younger sister, Katy, gets a kick out of telling people her older sister is only 2, Jodi said.
Emma is a 6th grader at Lincoln Elementary.
Kathy Larson, a customer service representative at Runestone Electric Association, celebrated her 7th birthday the same year her son turned 7-years-old.
Larson said she will never forget the fun and weird coincidence. She and her son received many of the same birthday cards that said, “Happy 7th Birthday.” Larson will be celebrating her 12th birthday on February 29, 2012.
Cameron Rice is not only a millennium baby; he’s a Leap Day millennium baby. He will be celebrating his 3rd birthday this year – 12 years after he was born.
When Cameron was 4-years-old he would tell people he was 1 and would get upset with his older siblings when they would correct him, his mom Karen said. Cameron is the son of Karen Rice of Alexandria and Scott Rice of Nelson.
Born in 1940, Bill Becker of Alexandria may be one of the area’s oldest leap year babies, but he still feels like a teenager.
“I still act like I’m 18,” Becker said, which makes sense since he will be celebrating his 18th birthday this year.
When Becker was in the Navy, he had a little explaining to do when the computer wouldn’t recognize February 29 as a valid birth date. He may have smoothed the way for future Navy leaplings.
Becker recalls another leaper, local businessman A.P. Hustad, hosting a contest in his Alexandria shop back in the 1960s for people to guess his time of birth to win a prize. Becker missed winning the grand prize by one guess and was awarded a fancy new flashlight as a consolation. Becker’s guess was the same time he was born – 12:02 a.m. He recalls there were 11 leap year babies in Douglas County at that time.
Coincidentally, Becker previously worked with another leapling at Alexandria Light and Power, Mary, the receptionist.
So when do leap year babies celebrate their birthdays when there isn’t a February 29 on the calendar, February 28 or March 1?
Becker said he usually picks the closest weekend to the end of February.
Leaplings worldwide are sure to agree with Cameron Rice’s response to his mother’s question of February 28 or March 1 when he was turning 7 on a common year.
“How about we do both?” he said.
WHEN IS LEAP YEAR?
A year is a leap year if it is divisible by four, but century years are not leap years unless they are divisible by 400.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac
1936 – Jack Lousma, astronaut
1952 – Tim Powers, science fiction writer
1952 – Bart Stupak, politician
1956 – J. Randy Taraborrelli, journalist
1960 – Tony Robbins, motivational speaker
1968 – Chucky Brown, retired basketball player
1968 – Pete Fenson, curler from Bemidji
1968 – Bryce Paup, former football player
1972 – Antonio Sabato Jr., actor
1972 – Saul Williams, poet, actor, musician
1976 – Ja Rule, rapper, actor
1976 – Emma Barton, actress
1976 – Terrence Long, former baseball player
1980 – Taylor Twellman, retired soccer player from Minneapolis
1980 – Chris Conley, musician
1984 – Cullen Jones, swimmer and Olympic gold medalist