Wednesday, February 10, 2010

How do we party in February? Let us count the ways.

Feb. 7, 2010
By S. Derrickson Moore
Sun-News reporter
LAS CRUCES — It’s Black History Month, For the Love of Art Month, and the only time in decades, I’ve been told, that Lunar (also known as Chinese) New Year and Valentine’s Day fall on the same day.
Some may feel a little daunted by all the celebratory opportunities. Not me. I’ve been honing my February fiesta skills for a lifetime, because it’s also Aquarian birthday season.
Your Las Cruces Style columnist was born on this very day, in fact, more than 39 years ago.
I’m in interesting and eclectic company, I discovered, when I did a little online search and came across a site offering quotes from people who share my birthday.
“A loving heart is the truest wisdom,” quoth prolific author Charles Dickens.
“The only normal people are the ones you don’t know very well,” pronounced psychiatrist Alfred Adler.
Among other Feb. 7 birthday kids are Garth Brooks, Ashton Kutcher, Chris Rock, Sinclair Lewis, and locally, Border Artists co-founder Virginia Ness ... and very locally, right here in the Sun-News newsroom: photographer Norm Detlaff and our former Sun-News colleague and current Carlsbad Current-Argus managing editor Martha Mauritson. Since we are all over 39 now, the three of us could have lit enough candles to start a forest fire.
But I digress. What I wanted to point out is that I’m experienced at February celebrations.
When I was a little kid, in fact, I thought my birthday started a week-long fiesta that culminated in Valentine’s Day, so I’ve been in training to be a February party animal for a lifetime.
And it’s only gotten more extreme over the years. For almost two decades, I lived in Oregon, which was admitted to statehood on Feb. 14, 1849, so there were some major fiesta opportunities, there.
And of course, Black History Month and Lunar New Year, when it falls in February, are more reasons to keep the party going.
Then there’s Presidents’ Day, previously known to many generations as Washington’s Birthday, celebrated on the third Monday of every February, this year on Feb. 15, though George’s actual birthday is Feb. 22, and Abraham Lincoln, whom many associate with Presidents’ Day was born on Feb. 12. And, if you’re updating your February greeting card list: William Henry Harrison was born on Feb. 9 and Ronald Regan was born on Feb. 6.
We must have some criteria other than numbers, though.
January, March, April, July and November each can claim four U.S. presidents’ birthdays, too, and August has five. Or Maybe it’s an Aquarian thing: There are more U.S. presidents born under the sign of the Water Bearer than any other sign of the Zodiac, when you add in the two January Aquarians, William McKinley (Jan. 29) and Franklin D. Roosevelt (Jan. 30). That’s a total of five, because we have to subtract Washington, a Pisces, even though we celebrate his birthday during Aquarius season.
Got that? No, well, never mind.
I don’t, because I finally landed in a place that devotes an entire month to celebrating, and as fortune would have it the month is February ... and what could be more fun and creative to celebrate than the arts?
And what better way to manage to blend in all the other things we have to celebrate: love, presidents, Eastern culture, Black history, Mardi Gras, Purim (Feb. 28) and the brand new FLAM WAPP (For the Love of Art Month Wearable Art Parade & Promenade) on Feb. 13.
I hope you paced yourself on Groundhog Day (Feb. 2). There’s still a lot to celebrate.
S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at