By Curt Oden - Exline correspondent
Are you aware that in less than three weeks, it will be the first day of spring? That will occur on Tuesday, March 20 at 1:14 a.m. It will be amazing if all of the bushes and trees that have had buds on them for quite some time, make it through without them freezing off, in a cold snap. That occurred a few years ago and there were not many things that blossomed that spring. That year, it also effected the apple crop, since the flowers on the apple trees froze when the temperature dipped after it had begun to warm up.
The recipe for this week was given to me by a relative. It sounds kind of good.
Almost Candy Bars
½ c. butter
1 pkg. Devil’s Food cake mix
1 c. butterscotch chips
1 pkg. (six oz.) chocolate chips
1 c. coconut
1 c. nuts (you may use walnuts or pecans)
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cut the butter into the cake mix, until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the bottom of an increased 15x15x1, baking pan. Press dough down lightly.
Sprinkle with the butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, coconut and nuts. Pour sweetened condensed milk over all of the ingredients. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until a light golden brown. Cool completely and cut into bars. It should yield about 48 bars.
Did you realize that Wednesday of this week was a Leap Day, Feb. 29, because this year of 2012 is a Leap Year. That means this year will have 366 days, instead of the usual 365 days of the year. The use of a Leap Year, which adds an extra day to the calendar every four years, was used as far back as during the Roman Empire in the time of Julius Caesar.
Their use of having a Leap Year every four years in the Julian Calendar, was based on any year evenly divisible by four, that is how they determined it would be a leap year. This caused problems by adding too many Leap Years to the calendar.
In those days, Leap Day occurred on Feb. 24, because that month was the last month of the year. When this Roman Calendar was in use, they would even add an extra month during the year sometimes, to try to keep up with the usual seasonal changes.
The purpose of a Leap Year is to keep the calendar in sync with the Earth’s rotation around the sun. For the Earth to circle the sun it takes about 365 and a 1/4 days, so if they did not add that extra day every four years, we would lose about six hours every year. In 100 years, 24 days would occur and cause the calendar to be off by that much.
When Pope Gregory XIII, introduced his Gregorian Calendar in 1582, it contained 365 days in one year. So it too, added an extra day in February every four years, to keep the calendar year more in alignment with the Earth’s rotation around the sun. Plus, they also added in some other calculations to keep it regulated.
They devised three rules to determine how to calculate a Leap Year. First, the year must be divisible by four. If the year can be evenly divided by 100, it is not a leap year, unless the year is also evenly divisible by 400. Then it is a leap year. This means that 2000 and 2400 are leap years, while 1800, 1900, 2100, 2200, 2300 and 2500 are not leap years.
The year of 2000 was special because it was the first time that the third rule was used to determine a Leap Year since the switch from the Julian to the Gregorian Calendar.
Even though the country of England and America, which was still under British rule at the time, switched to the Gregorian Calendar in 1752, the country of Lithuania did not change over until the year of 1915.
In England, Leap Day is also known as St Oswald’s Day. It is named for the Archbishop of York who died on Feb. 29, 992. His memorial is celebrated on Feb. 29 during Leap Years and on Feb. 28 during regular years.
It is an old legend that on Feb. 29, women may propose marriage to men, on that day. It stems from a tale that came down through the years in old Irish history, of when Saint Bridget made a deal with Saint Patrick, to allow women to take the role of proposing marriage. This was to allow the roles of men and women to balance the same way that Leap Day balances the calendar.
In the old European countries, during the Middle Ages, there were laws governing the tradition of women proposing to men. If a man refused a women’s proposal of marriage on Feb. 29, he had to buy her 12 pairs of gloves. That was so she could wear a different pair of gloves each month, to hide her embarrassment of not having an engagement ring on her finger.
Based on this premise in America, the famous comic strip created by Al Capp, called Lil’ Abner introduced Sadie Hawkins Day in his comic strip on Nov. 15, 1937. In the fictional town of Dogpatch, they decreed that the homeliest gal in the hills, Sadie Hawkins could pursue the town’s most eligible bachelors with marriage as the end result.
From the comic strip, a craze swept across the country and a lot of college campuses and others celebrated Sadie Hawkins Day. From this notion, many women and girls began to invite men out on dates and to ask them to go with them to dances. Al Capp himself, was surprised by the popularity of what he had created. He continued to celebrate Sadie Hawkins Day in his comic strip for 40 years.
People who are born on Feb. 29 only get to celebrate their real birth date on the actual day, every four years. During the other years, I guess you could celebrate it on Feb. 28 or March 1, or just go ahead and celebrate it on both days. So, the use of Leap Day and Leap Year, has a long and varied history that has came down through the years.
Tragedy has stuck the Kendell Oden farm again. On Friday night, just after 9 p.m., a passerby, noticed smoke rolling out from the Nathan Moore residence along the road that leads into the town of Exline. He stopped at a nearby home and reported it. They in turn called 9-1-1 and got the fire department on its way.
The old Oden homestead house, on the farm of Kendell and Dorothy Oden, caught fire and burned through the night. Kendall and Dorothy’s grandson Nathan Moore, lived in the house but he was not home at the time.
The flames roared up out of the roof line, high into the night sky. Thousands of gallons of water were sprayed on the fire but it was out of control and the house could not be saved. Men and fire trucks from four surrounding communities fought the fire. They were from Cincinnati, Centerville, Mystic and Mouton.
The tanker trucks kept a steady vigil, traveling back and forth to the fire hydrant at the base of the big water tower in the town of Exline, behind the Exline Old Country Store, obtaining water they would haul back to the scene and spray on the burning house.
A lot of family members and friends, showed up at the home of Kendell and Dorothy that night, to check on them and to watch the brave men fight the raging fire.
It was reported that other fire companies eventually left the fire scene around 3 a.m. Monday. The Cincinnati Fire Chief Rick Butler of Exline and his crew, stayed all night and through late Monday morning to continue to battle the fire.
By mid-morning on Monday, the fire was still continuing to burn down what was left of the home at that time. Around 24 hours later, after the fire had begun on Sunday night, by Monday night, the fire was still burning among the charred ruins of what used to be the house that sat there on that farm.
That farm house was originally built by Thomas W. Oden about 1920. Nathan’s great-grandparents’ Britt and Cora Oden raised 13 children in that house. Kendell and Dorothy Oden, Nathan’s grandparents, live next door on the same farm. So five generations of family members, have been associated with that farm house.
That house had stood there on that farm for over 90 years until the other night, when the unthinkable occurred.
It was only about one year ago, on the same farm that a big farm machinery shed burned down right near that same house on Feb. 11, 2011 so it has not been a good year for that family.
Recently, I ran across some interesting information regarding our town. According to the 2000 Census figures, the population of Exline was listed back then, as having 191 people living here.
Since the new Census was taken in 2010, I have wondered what number they came up with for that year. You would think with the addition of the Coal Miners Commons homes being built here in our town during that decade among other things, that the population in or town would have increased.
Apparently, that is not the case. The new Census figures from 2010 state that the total amount of people living in the town of Exline is now only 160 people. So, it declined 31 people within that time period, which I found to be quite informative.