The new month of January means the holiday season has faded away for most, but is continuing for those who follow the old calendar.
While most of us slog through tons of leftovers, bills and store returns, others operate on a different schedule. For them, Christmas (or Epiphany) was on the 7th while the New Year is on the 14th.
However, January usually offers some things common to all of us, such as bone-chilling cold. To put our complaints into perspective, remember that the average January temperature in Siberia is -51°C!
January is also the month that gives us the flu, car trouble, high heating bills, and shocking credit card statements that reflect some generous Santa Claus-style gift-giving.
Other January highlights:
January 4, 1885 — The first successful appendectomy was performed on a patient in Davenport, Iowa. The patient was actually planning on getting his tonsils out, but these little medical mix-ups can happen. You do watch Grey’s Anatomy, don’t you?
January 5, 1874 — Ballots were cast in Manitoba’s first civic election. There were 562 ballots cast for mayor, but there were only 388 qualified voters registered. Despite this “first” in voting irregularities, Francis Evans Cornish was declared elected as Winnipeg’s first mayor.
January 9, 1899 — Manitoba’s coldest-ever temperature was recorded at Norway House. On that crisp, bracing winter day, it was minus -53°C (-63°F).
Extra weather trivia, at no extra charge:
• Winnipeg’s coldest temperature ever was on Christmas Eve in 1879 when it plunged to -48°C
• Canada’s coldest ever temperature was -63°C at Snag in the Yukon.
• The coldest temperature recorded in the world was at a weather station in Antarctica where it hit a teeth-chattering -89°C.
January 18, 1917 — The Canadian income tax was introduced. Groan. Tax forms have come a long way since then. They’ve been simplified to a point where what was once incomprehensible is now merely confusing.
January 25 — Robbie Burn’s Day in honour of the famous Scottish poet. It’s also St. Paul’s Day, which produced an old weather legend that says that if the sun shines on this day, it means a good year.
• It was also on January 25, 1858, that Mendels-sohn’s Wedding March was played for the first time at the wedding of Queen Victoria’s daughter.
January 26 — Spouse's Day. When husbands and wives are encouraged to share jobs and roles in order to better appreciate each other. Can we have volunteers for cleaning the bathroom and changing the oil in the car?
January 29, 1880 — The birth of comedian W.C. Fields, who gave us great, irreverent lines, such as:
• “I’m very humble, and proud of it.”
• “Anything worth having is worth cheating for.”
• “Thou shalt not commit adultery unless in the mood.”
• “When wine, women and song become too much for you, give up singing.”
• There’s a new accident policy for skiers. It's called Black and Blue Cross and, of course, it’s “snow-fault” insurance.
• January teaches us that even a pleasant disposition is no match for a bad winter cold.
• Autopac lovers take note: If you’re careless enough with your driving, your present car will probably last you a lifetime.