It doesn't matter what day it is

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Thinking Out Loud

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Just like a TV game show host, I’m going to spin the big wheel to determine a random day of the year which we can explore in greater detail.

Ticka..ticka...ticka....ticka......ticka.......ticka........ticka.........ticka....... (“Round and round she goes; and where she stops, nobody knows” — with apologies to Ted Mack and the Original Amateur Hour).

As the wheel slows down, it becomes more evident that the long and sparkly red arrow will end up on the fourth day of March.

(Actually, in the name of full disclosure, I cheated to make sure March 4 would come up the winner. I hold no animosity toward any of the other dates of the year; I just thought the fourth of March would make an interesting subject).

Just like any other day of the year, the fourth of March has its share of celebrity births and deaths; there are special events that happened on the date, just like every other day in the year.

This particular date is the 63rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (64th if it’s a Leap Year). Interestingly, Protestant Great Britain and its Empire did not start using the Gregorian calendar (named in honor of Pope Gregory XIII) until 1752.

Celebrities who have come into this world on this date include Chaz Bono (of Sonny and Cher fame), Catherine O’Hara (the mother in the “Home Alone” movies), Notre Dame football great Knute Rockne, card game bridge expert Charles H. Goren, and singer/actor Barbara McNair.

On the other side of the ledger, a few noteworthy individuals took the opportunity to leave our world on their way to Heaven.

For example, college basketball great Hank Gathers died while playing in a collegiate game; and author Pat Conroy, who penned “The Great Santini” and “The Prince of Tides.”

An interesting footnote in American history indicates that the U.S. might have technically gone a day without a president on March 4, 1849.

Because Inauguration Day fell on a Sunday that year (in those days, Inauguration Day was held on March 4 instead of the current-day’s Jan. 20), President-elect Zachary Taylor decided to wait until the next day — Monday, March 5 — to take the presidential oath. Being a devout Christian, he didn’t think it was right to take an oath on the Lord’s Day.

A lot of good that did, however; Taylor died about 16 months later, leaving the presidency to Vice President Millard Fillmore.

But, overall, the best thing to come out of this particular calendar date happened several years ago when a family I know suffered a terrible tragedy when the wife’s husband passed away after a long illness. As you might imagine, the man’s death date was the fourth of March.

While the family’s grieving obviously continues to this day, the members have been able to turn around (to some degree) the sorrow that they’ve endured through these years. They were able to use a simple trick of restating the obvious.

While the husband’s death occurred on the fourth of March, the family decided to look at the date — March Fourth — in a different way. As if taking orders in a military fashion, these folks now look at this annual date as instructions in their lives.

Instead of dwelling on the past, they look to the “now” and “future” that their lives still have remaining.

After all, they “march forth” through life, making the best of each day to come.

Yes, the fourth of March may be a random date, but it shows that each day can offer us new challenges and something to look forward to.

Whether it’s March Fourth or any other day of the year, we should make the best of it and look at the positives.

 

dwhirt@wcc.net