Rushville Republican

Columns

September 6, 2012

Stuart: Happy Dog Days to ya!

RUSHVILLE — Even though my wife, in what has become an annual ritual, will skip having a birthday this year, it still seems right and proper for me to write Ð and properly Ð about it.

For inspiration, I only have to dig into the ridiculous mounds of stuff I have collected over the years to discover interesting things about her birthdate (August 27, for those of you breathlessly wishing to know).

Buried in these ridiculous mounds are such must-keep items as old page-a-day calendars from years gone by. Hey, all these years repeat themselves, cadence-wise, eventually, and I, eventually, won't have to put a new page-a-day calendar on my Christmas Wish List, once I've stockpiled all the various permutations of page-a-day calendars. I think this is brilliant, whereas my family thinks it's kooky.

They might not feel that way if I ever manage to convince them to sit at my feet each evening while I read them that day's page; just consider some of the entries I have on hand for August 27:

The 2007 edition of the "1,000 Places to See Before You Die" calendar. August 27 features Big Sur, California. The topics my family could discuss regarding this page are myriad; for example, that day, in 2007, was a Summer Bank Holiday in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. But not in Scotland, land of the Stuarts. Wouldn't it be fascinating to find out why?

Ugh, they would say, and I would have to agree; even I'M not THAT boring.

But we could have a lively exchange about the description of Big Sur on the calendar entry: it explains how Big Sur is "located where the Santa Lucia Mountains encounter the roaring Pacific."

At this juncture, I'd sing a few bars of the traditional Neapolitan song named "Santa Lucia." Or perhaps a quick visit to the computer to gather round and listen to a version of the song by some pretty famous singer guy named Elvis Presley. (You can find it on YouTube. It's been viewed 1,405,584 times since it was posted, and one of those views was by me.)

Or the digression might head in an entirely different direction, for example, my family shouting "'Page-a-Day Calendar Time With Dad' is OVER Ð let's go get some Neapolitan ice cream!"

Anyway, back to Big Sur. After the "roaring Pacific" comment, the writers of "1,000 Places to See Before You Die" refer to it as "a poem of rugged scenery and crashing surf you'll never forget." But someone apparently DID forget: the entry concludes with a quote from a pretty famous writer guy named Henry Miller, who wrote a lot of stuff that got banned in the U.S. for having way too many naughty bits. My kids might be interested in hearing more about that; but remember, by this time they're ransacking the freezer in search of ice cream.

Miller refers to Big Sur as "a place of eloquent silence."

Whaaaaa-?! "Roaring Pacific" and "crashing surf" do NOT an eloquent silence make! But oy, hearing my family scarf down a bunch of Neapolitan ice cream also does not an eloquent silence make.

Another page-a-day calendar with a bit more interactivity for the family is this year's "Urban Myth" collection. I haven't read much of this calendar, because one thing I'm REALLY terrible about when it comes to page-a-day calendars is actually reading a page a day. I tend to binge and purge, going weeks without turning the pages, then reading a couple months worth in one sitting.

"Urban Myth" presents a familiar urban legend on the front of the page, and reveals whether it's "truth" or "myth" on the back. Flipping to August 27, the entry reads: "Cornelius Vanderbilt (the super-rich tycoon) sang 'I am poor, I am needy' on his deathbed."

Now I don't know about you, but this is a familiar urban legend that my family has been discussing and arguing about for YEARS!

Not.

Anyway, flipping the page reveals the truthiness or mythiness of this tale. But I won't reveal the answer here: I don't want to serve up a "spoiler" to anyone who owns this calendar and competes with themselves or others to properly guess the answer.

Okay, not really. I didn't even bother reading the back of the page; I just had to get myself some Neapolitan ice cream!

Oh, geez. . .by the way Ð Happy birthday hun!

TakefiveT5@yahoo.com

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