Once we get past February, each succeeding month seems to hold out the ever-increasing promise of impending spring. The arrival of March is exciting every year, even if it surprises us with one or two late-winter weather insults. Now, we’re heading into April with its anticipated allotment of warmer days ahead.
So, can summer be far behind? Don’t put money on it, yet.
Anyway, our thoughts now turn to spring. At last, there will be warmer days ahead, thanks to Old Sol. And let’s have a look at some annual calendar stops in this new month.
• April 7, 1927 — A newfangled idea called television was first demonstrated. Rumour has it that the first show was an early version of Keeping up with the Kardashians. Viewers shook their collective heads in horror and said, “This invention will be an important part of the future?”
• Thursday, April 10 — Golfers yearning for the verdant fairways of summer will be wallowing in the elegance, greenery, tradition, and talent of the Masters in Augusta, Georgia. During four days every April, the Masters is in a class by itself.
And to get you hackers in the mood, here’s a little Masters trivia quiz (answers at the end of the column):
1. How do you get tickets to the Masters?
2. Why does the Masters winner get a green jacket?
• April 12, 1934 — The date of the strongest wind-speed ever recorded on Earth. Surprise, surprise, it wasn’t at Portage and Main. On a spring day in 1934, the entire town of Mt. Washington, New Hampshire, must surely have been airborne because the wind was clocked at a whopping 372 km/h (231 mph).
• April 15 — Passover. Around the world, members of the Jewish faith will celebrate the eight-day Festival of Freedom. This recalls the exodus of the Israelites from bondage in Egypt, and has been observed annually for about 3,000 years.
• April 18 — Good Friday with Easter Sunday on the 20th.
Here are a few Easter jokes for your kids:
Question: Why do we paint Easter eggs?
Answer: Because it’s easier than trying to wallpaper them.
Question: Why did the Easter egg hide?
Answer: Because he was a little chicken.
Question: How did the Easter Bunny rate his favorite restaurant?
Answer: He said it was eggs-cellent.
Question: How does the Easter Bunny travel?
Answer: By hare plane.
Question: How do you know carrots are good for your eyes?
Answer: Have you ever seen a rabbit wearing glasses?
• April 22 — Earth Day. This is our annual reminder of the fragility of this little orb we inhabit in the immensity of the Universe. It would be better, of course, if we symbolically slapped ourselves in the face every day of the year and remembered to stop abusing our planet. For most of us, our small ecological influence boils down to those three little r words: reduce, reuse and recycle. But, even that relatively small effort can make a big difference if everyone participates.
• April 30 — Another annual observance: the income tax deadline.
Here’s a little tax whimsy to ease the pain:
— One good thing about April is that the weather starts to turn warmer about the same time that the taxman takes the shirt off your back.
— The easiest way to figure out the cost of living is to take your income and add 25 per cent.
— The taxman is running the most successful mail-order business in the world.
1. Good luck acquiring tickets to golf’s premier event. There’s a waiting list for Masters tickets, but, alas, the waiting list closed back in the late 1970s because, by that time, there were 5,000 names on the list and a maximum of only 100 tickets become available every year. Doesn't sound too promising for our long-planned visit to the fairways of Augusta, does it? However, the good news is that the Masters tournament practice rounds are open to walk-in customers on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
2. The tradition of the Masters winner receiving a green jacket started in 1949. The significance of the green jacket itself goes back to 1937 when club members were given green jackets and were urged to wear them during the tournament so spectators would recognize these volunteers as “official” tournament helpers. Shortly after this, the members started wearing the green jackets whenever they were at the Augusta National Club. In 1949, they came up with the idea that the annual winner of the tournament also deserved to be a member — if only honourary — and wear the coveted green jacket. And so, a tradition was born amid the magnolias of the Masters.