So after a long wait, we’ve finally reached the month of geese, shamrocks, swallows, the vernal equinox, and slightly warmer days. March is the month when we realize that the worst of winter is over, while not forgetting that Mother Nature has been known to throw us an occasional weather-curve during winter’s late innings.
Here’s a look at this new month, then and now:
• March 7, 1954 — Lovers of basketball will probably know this bit of dribbling trivia. On this date, the NBA basket was raised to a height of 12 feet as an experiment. This idea was not considered a slam dunk, it definitely didn't fly and they later returned the hoop to its present 10-foot height.
• Sunday, March 9 — The return of Daylight Saving Time. And not a moment too soon! Just for variety, and confusion, Saskatchewan stays on Standard Time, although even there, we find an exception. Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, straddles the Alberta border and changes to DST along with that province.
For trivia lovers who may be wondering: DST started back in 1918 during the First World War by Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The idea was to give people more daylight in order to conserve coal, which was used to produce electricity. But DST was a big hit and countries around the world maintained the practice long after the guns of war were silenced.
So remember, on Saturday night, March 8, or, if you’re a nighthawk, Sunday morning, March 9, before you go to bed, to move all your clocks and watches forward one hour and then enjoy each day’s later sunset.
• March 10,1876 — Alexander Graham Bell transmitted the first clearly audible telephone message to his assistant in the next room.
He said, “Mr. Watson, come here, I want you.”
And all this time, you figured he said: “Your call is very important to us. All our customer service representatives are currently busy. Please stay on the line. Due to high call volumes, there may be a slight delay.”
• March 11, 1847 — John Chapman died. Who the heck was John Chapman? Well, you would probably recognize him if I said, “Johnny Appleseed.” He was an itinerant American preacher who planted apple seeds wherever he went. He was a great friend of wild animals and was also considered by Native-Americans to be a great medicine man.
By the way, remember the phrase, “As American as apple pie?” Well, surprise, surprise, it turns out that apple pie is not American, after all. It was brought by European settlers long before the days of American Independence. Apples became an American agricultural success only after Johnny Appleseed crossed the plains planting his seeds near the end of the 18th century.
• March 15, 1956 — Ah, those exciting days in ’56, during the infancy of “rock ’n’ roll.” Elvis Presley was bursting on the music scene exercising his hips, shocking parents and popularizing duck-tail haircuts among all us guys who thought we were cool, but weren’t.
And incidentally, that was also when the word, “cool,” was first popular. Kids today think that they invented “cool,” but some of us know better. In fact, for all we know, it may have also been a popular word in the generation before us. Slang words come and go, but “cool” goes on forever!
But, I digress. March 15, 1956, was the day that a guy named Tom Parker — call him, “Colonel” — signed on as Elvis Presley’s manager.
Under the new management agreement, Colonel Parker pocketed one-quarter of Elvis’ earnings. This lucrative arrangement continued even after “The King’s” death in 1977.
Little-known Elvis trivia: his previous manager was Memphis disc-jockey Bob Neal.