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March Madness

March Madness and St. Patrick’s Day are here. In the South, March is certainly a fickle month, as to weather. As one of my favorite authors described it, “It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.” Charles Dickens

When I was in the sixth grade, we had snow every Wednesday for four weeks! Can you imagine? Daddy would take us to Shoresbrook Golf Course to sled and sled on those hills. That has been over 60 years ago, and those snowfalls have never occurred like that again.

Some famous people were born in this month, e.g. President Andrew Jackson, singer James Taylor, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, Albert Einstein, and Dr. Seuss. Women’s History Month claims this month as its own, and daffodils are its flowers.

“Beware the Ides of March” is a familiar phrase to those who have read Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. These were the Soothsayer’s words to Julius Caesar on his impending death in the play, and on March 15 in 54 BC, Caesar was assassinated.

Another dramatic event happened on this date in 1917.  Czar Nicholas II of Russia abdicated his throne, ending a 304-year-old royal dynasty.

Centuries apart, two rulers lost their thrones and places in history, one with a knife and another with a signature

On March 15, 1765, Andrew Jackson was born in the Waxhaws of South Carolina. For the first fifteen years of his life, he lived in this Scots-Irish community. His widowed mother, Elizabeth Hutchinson Jackson, made sure that her three sons received a good education and religious training. She was a Patriot and believed in the American Revolution, and she modeled for her sons a life of determination to do the right thing, in spite of the odds. I wrote about her life in “Brave Elizabeth.”

March was my grandmother’s favorite month. She lived on a dairy farm in Shelbyville, Kentucky, and winter weather had its own staying-power there. The blooming daffodils in our yard were usually about three weeks ahead of hers. Lulu would call my mom with the definitive morning when her daffodils opened their sunny blossoms. Sometimes they were covered with snow, but Lulu was ecstatic to see those harbingers of spring.

I am pleased that my daffodils, transplanted from where I grew up, survived the cold nights from last week. Some are limping along and hardly raising their heads to the skies, but their cheerful, yellow stands out in the brown and dreary yard, a welcome sight.

Also, my sixth grade teacher had us memorize a poem to recite to the class every month. “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” was her pick for March.

Oh, let’s enjoy the daffodils!

“I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”

William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky way,

They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:

I gazed—and gazed—but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.