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Much to celebrate in March

March 9, 2016
Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer ( , Estherville News

March is among the favorite months in our house. Spring is coming, and often there are a number of warm days punctuating the wet, windy ones. We start walking the dog again, and we have a reprieve between the birthdays of the older kids and the April fete for the youngest one. Then, of course, there are all the holidays in March.

First is International Women's Day, which caps off Women's History Month. I think it's good to celebrate the contributions of women at least 1/12 of the year, and I always learn something I didn't know, or learn about a woman I'd not yet heard of. From brave Malala, who wanted to go to school, to Angela Davis, from Eleanor Roosevelt to Dorothy Day, Emmeline Pankhurst to Susan B. Anthony, Dolley Madison to Jacqueline Kennedy, so much of history is about dates, places, wars, and aggression. But the human story is about so much more.

Then, we look forward to Pi Day. A math nerd holiday built from the beginning of that many-charactered number that makes up Pi, which we multiply by the radius squared to get the area of a circle, and which gives us other geometric delights, is an excuse to make Pie. Chicken pot pie, pizza pie, chocolate/butterscotch cream pie, apple pie, shoo-fly pie (Just kidding. I've never made that, but the recipe reads like some kind of molasses monstrosity).

Back when it was first inching its way into mainstream popularity, my father and his step-brother-in-law were at a Red Lobster together when the server asked if they would like dessert. "I will have a slice of Key Lime Pie," Uncle Bruce said, "if you can tell me where it comes from." The server answered correctly, "The Florida Keys," and they each had a slice, my father for the first time.

Pie figured heavily into Dad's life. He was nine years old and had grown up knowing nothing other than first the Great Depression then sugar and other rationing during WWII. He visited his aunt and uncle in Chicago and tasted his first strawberry pie, a story he told me often when reminding me that my life was hardly difficult in the greater scheme of things.

My children have made everything from handful chicken tarts to lemon meringue to Boston cream pie (really kind of a cake) for Pi Day. I guess you can tell Pi Day is one of my favorite days.

Then there is the Ides of March. "Beware the Ides of March," Caesar said. While getting stabbed in the back by your best friend is hardly something to celebrate, it is a good time to remember the (imperfect) Roman system of democracy upon which, to an extent, our own system was founded, and also that any empire can fall due to corruption and greed; it happened to Rome, and it can happen any time that stuff gets out of control.

We go green (sometimes) for St. Patrick's Day, and make it fun with open-face Reubens, smashed potatoes, green vegetables, and a fudge and creme-de-menthe based dessert. There is a fair amount of Irish in our background, and maybe I have a little bit of Irish Cream left over from Christmas (shows how much I ever drink liquor - not much).

This year, we get Easter at the end of March. After a Lenten season spent trying to watch, wait, wonder, connect, and give, we don bright colors, greet the sun, and celebrate hope and new life with the changing of the seasons.

Hello, Sunshine. I hope you will stick around.



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