February 29th

LEAP Year.

Leap year comes once every four years and gives us that extra day in February. I am not even going to attempt to explain why. For most of us it’s just important to know that it is there. However, for me it has special meaning as my father’s birthday was February 29th. I would like to honor my father today instead of my usual blog, so here is my tribute to my Father.

Tribute to My Father

Fred Wilson Richards born February 29,1916 died November 16th 1985.

His father was an immigrant from Cornwall England and although his mother was born in this country her family were also immigrants from England. He was the only living son, his brother was stillborn and he had three sisters two older and one younger than himself.

Some people my mother especially would have said he was a mom’s boy but I think that came from the closeness of the family. My grandfather died before I was born leaving my father responsible to help out. When he was in high school and money became tight he had to quit extra activities that he enjoyed to deliver newspapers to bring in extra money for the family.

Values were very important to him, and he believed there was a right time and a wrong time to stand up for what you believed in and you had better know the difference.

He was a typical young man somewhat of a Tom Sawyer character in his early days. It was nothing for him and the Weber boys to take off over night with their fishing poles and go down to Rock Creek and spend the night doing what boys do. Sometimes they’d be fishing, other times if they could sneak a beer or cigarette the certainly would.  For truth be known they were all boy and it’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for.

My grandfather use to keep a jar of stoggie’s in the living room and unknown to my father he counted them every morning before he left for work at the mines and again upon returning home. One day he returned home and there were some missing. My father was immediately called up on it. He had to admit to his father that he had taken a stoggie and tried to. I’m not really sure how many he took. But my grandfather said, so you think you’re a man do you. He took my dad to the store to buy stoggies and they field the jar. Now he told my father to smoke them. My father had to smoke until he “Turned green” and got so sick he couldn’t smoke another one. He never like stoggies after that. I remember on occasions when someone would give him one upon a birth of a child he’d accept it graciously and put it away for later. Sometimes he’d take off the wrapper and smell it but he never did smoke them.

When World War II started and all his friends were going off to war it was important for him to go to. However, he was turned down for medical reasons, not sure why but it could have been his flat feet. However, he didn’t let that stop him. He wanted to fight for his country. He kept going back until finally they accepted him.

He served in France and England. When he wasn’t busy being the army chef he was guarding prisoners.  When he came home he had to find work that would support a family as him and my mom had married before he went overseas. His dreams went up in smoke as there wasn’t money for him to be an architecture and go to school.

He took on the trade of an apprentice printer because he could get paid while working and quickly become a full-time printer. He spent his life time in the printing business but his love of drafting, and art never died.

When he retired he spent his hours painting beautiful oil paintings and even did some pastels as he took art classes with my mother.

Growing up my father believed that you don’t pay someone to do what you can do yourself. He remodeled our entire home and we worked side by side with him.

Weekends were for fishing. He was an avoid fisherman and loved to be on the rivers. He liked fly fishing but I never got the hang of it. I did fish side by side with him though.

He gave up hunting after he had children believing that he needed to be home with his family.

He was a quiet man but an understanding man. However, when he did speak you knew you had better listen because he didn’t waste words.

He became President of the Typographical Union for years not because he wanted to but because the men wanted him to. He was respected by everyone in town and everyone knew he was fair. Both union and employers preferred dealing with him for his fairness and respectability.

He was a man of his word and he taught us that you are only as good as your word.

I looked up to my father and would have done anything for him. He was the type of person that I think everyone should be. Honored, respected, trustworthy and kindhearted.

He always saw that his family was cared for and he always saw that his mother and sister’s were cared for. He even made sure his great-aunt who lived on the old homestead was cared for. He was a kind, loving , caring person.

However, I saw him broken on his sixty ninth birthday when he received a letter from the Veteran’s association. It told him his life insurance would be cut in half on his seventieth birthday. He looked at my mom and said, “I worth more to you dead than alive.” He never lived to his next birthday. He died from a massive heart attack.

I think it is a shame that we place that kind of value on our senior citizens and demean them in such a way.

Leap year will always remind me of my father. We had many good times and jokes about it. We use to tell him he could only have a birthday once every four years. I use to tell my friends he was thirteen years old and they thought I was lying to them until I explained his leap year birthday.

I miss my dad terribly for he truly was the only person that ever really understood me. I knew he could make everything better just with a hug, a smile and by talking to him.

I knew he was my protector and even though the boys that wanted to date me growing up were scared to death of him they liked him and respected him because he was always fair.

I honor my father who would be ninety-six today. May the angels sing songs for him. May he wait for me until one day we are together again. May he have glorious days fishing on a river bank in paradise. His dream was a cabin on a water fishing all day long. Dad I hope you have found that in paradise, after all you deserve it. God Bless you , I Love You and Happy Birthday Dad!


And a few fun facts about Leap Year:

Leap year babies born in the year 1884 did not celebrate a single birthday on their actual birth date throughout entire teen age years. February 29th fell on the year they turned 12 and then not again until they turned 20.

The tradition of women proposing to men on leap year day dates all the way back to 5th century Ireland.

The very first calendar that provided for leap year was introduced in 238 B.C. By King Ptolemy.

Astrologers believe that anyone being born on February 29th has unusual talents and personalities befitting of their special birth day. People born on leap year’s day are called leaplings.

Anthony, Texas is the self-proclaimed leap year capital of the world. Every year this little town that sits on the border of New Mexico holds a festival and leap year birthday celebrations complete with a carnival and hot air balloon rides. People come from all over the world to celebrate their special birthday in style.

The chances of having a leap year birthday are 1 in 1,461.

There are about 4 million people in the world who have been born on February 29th


Leapin’ lobsters! February 29 is not only Leap Day, it’s also National Surf and Turf Day!

National Surf and Turf Day is a food holiday that is celebrated in the United States. While it has a set date on which it occurs, it is not exactly an annual celebration. The date set  for it is February 29,  Leap Year Day. The celebration is only celebrated every four years. It is unknown why February 29 was chosen for National Surf and Turf Day. There are over 365 food days and several share dates.
The history of National Surf and Turf Day is unclear. The term “surf and turf” is believed to have been started in 1966, when it was used in The Miami News to describe an entrée including both beef and seafood. At that time, it was more typical to find this entrée being served in East Coast restaurants in the United States.
It is unknown when surf and turf first became served as an entrée. It is also a menu item in the United Kingdom and has been served there for many years
The celebration of National Surf and Turf Day can be celebrated by either going to a restaurant to have this entrée or trying one’s hand serving it at home. There are many recipes available for fixing surf and turf, using traditional flavorings like mushrooms, shallots and garlic, as well as less traditional flavors like Cajun or Italian seasonings. For recipes go on-line and check out Surf and Turf Recipes. No matter how you choose to celebrate today make it a good one because you will have to wait another four years for it to come around.

Until next time 🙂


3 Responses

  1. I’m celebraing by doing some cleaning. : )

    Have a great day!

  2. Cliff enjoy your cleaning 🙂

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