Looks like, for the Kansas City area, March will come in like a cold, snowy lion…or lamb, depends on your perspective. And, of course, keeping up the long and fine tradition of weather-folks using as many tired and unsurprising turns-of-phrase as possible, I will say just that on FirstNews, Friday morning.
Sometimes, March stays kind of lion-esque for many of the 31 days. Or, maybe, it will be a lamb all the way through! Now, I’ve engaged in another long-standing tradition of weather-people by equivocating…staying nicely on the fence…giving myself plenty of leeway. An entire course at weather-person school is devoted to how to do this kind of “maybe this…maybe that” stuff. I got an “A.”
In the Wisconsin of my fading youth, March seemed to hang on forever. Cold. Damp. Gray. Garrison Keillor once said that God created March so that people who don’t drink will know what a hangover is like.
Years ago, I did a story about the origin of that “In like a lion, out like a lamb” adage. I wanted to go back and look at it again for this bloggolio but discovered that the TV station has transferred all my old feature stories to highly flammable film-stock and, then, stored them near the furnace. I do remember that in that particular story, I used our little Dachshund-Chihuahua mix, Jingles.
I don’t know who this dog is…but he looks just like Jingles as a puppy. All real photos of Jingles were destroyed when he went into the witness relocation program.
Although Jingles has long since gone to that giant fire hydrant in the sky, I still have folks mention him every now and then. Anyway, for the story, my talented wife, Jessica, used cardboard to create a lion’s mane and a lamb’s woolly head to slip onto Jingles’ noggin as a visual aid. You could see the loathing and embarrassment in the dog’s eyes. For many nights after that, I would wake up to find Jingles staring at me and muttering. I’m just lucky he couldn’t reach the silverware drawer. Frankly, I’m surprised he didn’t figure out some way to get to the sharp objects. Once he had worked his way up onto the kitchen table and ate his weight in Easter ham before we discovered him.
If I remember correctly, I found a reference to March and lions and lambs in Shakespeare and other information indicating it has to do with the constellations in the sky as the month starts and ends. The real saying has March coming in like a lion because, still being winter, it is usually cold and nasty, and going out like a lamb, because spring has arrived and it should be sunny and warmer. We tend to turn it topsy-turvy and say coming in one way results in going out another.
Over the years, if we have a snowy beginning I’ve said “March is coming in like a polar bear.” Clever, huh? I also like to use animals like aardvarks and platypussessesses or platypi…not to be confused with “plate of pie,” which sounds pretty good about now.
A couple years ago I said the first day of March would come in like Fonzie in a bathtub. Cool and soggy. That forecast actually turned out to be partially true. As my dad used to say, every now and then a blind pig finds an acorn.
A viewer once told me that I, and my so-called forecasts, reminded him of the month of March. In his words, both tend to be “Windy and all wet!”