September 30th Chewing Gum Day

People have been chewing gum for over 5,000 years. Not gum as we know it today, but gum nonetheless. In 2007 the British found traces of gum (tree bark)  in Kierikki, Yli-Li, Finland. They found teeth marks in the bark indicating it had been chewed.

Over the years, it has been used to stave off hunger, curb nicotine cravings, and to freshen breath. It has been made from bark, plants, grass, and other resins, most probably not tasting all that good. It wasn’t until 1848 when John B. Curtis started giving it some flavor, or so far as we know. He was also the first to sell it commercially.

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It was called “The State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum”. As many gums of the time, it came from the sap of trees. It must have been okay because he sold a great deal of it.

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In 1850 an upgrade came to gum, being made out of paraffin wax. Sort of like the stuff you find in those little mock soda bottles. The gum didn’t last all that long but it was better tasting as the wax could easily be mixed with different flavorings.

On Dec. 18th, 1869 Willliam Semple filed for a patent on his gum (#98,304).

Obviously gum has changed a lot since then. Wrigley, Dentine, Juicy Fruit… It has been found to improve memory, reduce stress, and increase alertness. The newer sugar free versions also improve oral hygiene, curb cravings, and improve digestion.

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Besides that, if we didn’t have gum,  what would baseball players chew? How could you blow bubbles? And the 1950’s might never have been! People rarely turn down a piece of gum if it’s offered to them. There are so many positives that maybe the only negative is…

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How to celebrate – Get a piece of your favorite gum and give it a chew. Take enough with you and share with your friends or co-workers. Try some flavors of gum you have never had. You may not like them but all you have to do is spit it out! Preferrably in a garbage can.

September 27th National Voter Registration Day

Today is a very important day, the day you can register for your right to vote. If you like the way the country is being run, you need to vote to keep that in place. If you don’t like the way things are going, you need to vote to change things. The important thing is, you register to vote so you can help shape the country and therefore, take some responsiblity for who we are and where we go.

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Nearly all of us complain about government. Some of us want government to take care of us, others want the government to stay out of our business. If you don’t vote, you have no right to say anything. Not that anybody should be able to tell you how to vote, you need to decide that for yourself. Not voting ensures that at least for you the wrong person gets elected.

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There are many things you may agree with, many things you may not agree with, but your voice is equal to anyone’s voice if you vote. No, things may not go your way, but at least you did what you could to keep things the same, or change things. Standing by and not voting is letting someone else decide for you what is right and what is wrong.

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We already know all politicians lie to us. They cannot tell us the truth because if they do, we would be panicked. Making guns laws strong will not keep guns out of the hands of those who get them illegally. Not having regulations on where toxic wastes are dumped will ensure that they get dumped whereever a company wants to dump them. Certain truths we can decide for ourselves. The lies we hear from those running for office should all be discounted because none of them ever do what they say they will do. It doesn’t matter what side you are on, that is the truth. The question becomes what comes closest to the values you have? Should illegal aliens be made legal? Should we continue to let the rich get richer? Is it our job to take care of those who wont take care of themselves? Should we go into wars we have no intention of winning? Those are questions you have to ask yourself but it doesn’t mean anything unless you can vote and you can’t vote if you aren’t registered.

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How to celebrate – Stop complaining and get registered to vote. Stop blaming others if you do nothing to stand up for what you believe in. Volunteer to work at a polling place in your area.

September 26th Johnny Appleseed Day

John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, was born in Leominster, Mass. in 1774. He is famed for spreading the apple industry across America and showing the importance of the fruit.

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His practice started in Warren, Pa. on the Brokenstraw Creek where he planted a small orchard and fenced it off.  He left the field to neighbors allowing them to sell off shares of the fruit harvested from the trees. He would return every year or two to tend to the fields and reap whatever profits he could get. He traveled across Pennsylvania, Ontario, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and what would become West Virginia.

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In fact, he made a great deal of money using others to do his work while he continued to travel and own numerous apple orchards, all fenced in and operated by neighbors. He looked the part of a beggar, often going shoeless, though he could well afford them.

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In many ways he is a true American hero.  He did create an industry and helped many people around him, though he really did not care for people all that much. He was also an Evangelists, though his people skills left few transformed by his vision.

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He did, however, have one true love in life, animals.  He would often go without in order to make sure the animals around him were taken care of.  Few wild animals ever threatened him while most befriended him.  He was, more-or-less the Doctor Doolittle of his time.

How to celebrate – Have an apple in honor of Johnny Appleseed. Plant your own apple tree and see if you can get it to grow. Go to an orchard and pick your own apples.

September 24th Schwenkfelder Thanksgiving

So you thought Thanksgiving only came once a year, not true! It isn’t only celebrated by America either! But in this case, it’s sort of another American Thanksgiving.

In the 1700’s a group of Protestants broke away from the many churches in Germany to form their own sect. It followed the teachings of theologian Caspar Schwenkfelder somewhere in the Reformation era.

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Finding resistance to their beliefs, as so many did, the first faction moved to Pennsylvania in 1733, the second, and final one, in 1734. They mixed with the Dutch and thrived on giving their allegiance to the King of England. Finally finding a place where they could celebrate their faith as they chose, they set September 24th aside for a day of thanksgiving.

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You probably have to live in the Pennsylvania Dutch area to have ever heard of them or possibly Germany, where they originally organized. They are apparently trying to spread the word, at least in their area. As the Mormons have done, they have their own facility where they tell their history, and the history of their followers.

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Though I have to admit, I cannot speak to highly of their outfits from my research.

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How to celebrate – If you want another thaksgiving put on your calendar, try Schwenkfelder Thanksgiving! Spend a little time in Dutch Country, Pennsylvania and learn who they are for yourself. You can actually create your own Thaksgiving Day. In all honesty, every day is a day to be thankful for.

September 23rd National Checkers and Dogs in Politics Day

You think we have weird politics today? Well, it’s always been weird. On September 23rd, 1953 Richard Nixon, then running for Vice-President, was charged with taking improper gifts from those supporting him by giving him valuable items in exchange for his expenses while running for office.

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He gave what is now known as the “Checkers Speech” on that date, announcing he was returning everything given to him except a black and white dog named Checkers. He went onto television and gave the speech, lasting a half-hour, saying he was returning everything except for Checkers since his children so loved the dog.  I think Nixon did too.

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After the speech, 60 million Americans supported his actions and Nixon kept Checkers.  He was also elected, with Ike Eisenhower as President, to the position of Vice-President. Well, years later Nixon would prove to be a criminal and was the only President actually to resign his position as President of the United States. With all the mistakes he made, probably none worse than any of the other Presidents we have had, at least he proved his devotion to a dog, making him a decent person in my book.

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If he was willing to give up his chance at being Vice-President to keep his dog, it speaks well to me.

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Well Checkers did eventually die. They buried him, created a grave marker, and have seen to it that it is kept up. For a President that lost everyone’s respect for getting caught at something they all do at least he had a friend, a true friend, not one that even politics could separate him from.

How to celebrate – Give your pet an extra hug or kiss tonight. Read about Nixon and Checkers. Play a game of Checkers in Checkers memory.

September 22nd Hobbit Day

The Hobbit, and the Trilogy Lord Of The Rings, is the greatest work of J.R.R.Tolkien. September 22nd is the birthday of two major characters in the series, Bilbo Baggins, and Frodo Baggins. If you haven’t read the series, you really should, though the movies are pretty good, the books are better.

It all starts when Bilbo ends up with a “precious” ring that can make one invisible, but as it is worn it turns them towards the dark side. Put in the hands of a human or a dwarf, the world would probably be doomed – since the dark side is trying to take over the world – but it ends up in the hands of a Hobbit who has a bit more moral stamina than any other race.

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If the ring falls into the hands of the ultimate bad wizard, the world is lost. It is up to Bilbo to keep that from happening. He gets the aid of a good wizard, human warriors, dwarves and Elves, all who want to save the world, but are also tempted by the ring. At the end of the Hobbit, Bilbo is successful but retains the ring to keep it safe.

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However, the darkside won’t stop and it threatens once again after Bilbo is too old to continue the quest and Frodo takes over for him. I won’t give away the ending, though most of you probably know it anyway, but if you don’t, read the books, they are well worth your effort.

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Tolkien died in 1973, the year Hobbit Day was first celebrated. It did not catch on at first but eventually the U.S. County Courthouse, followed by the White House, and then the U.S. Capitol recognized the day (probably started by the American Tolkien Society). It finally got the recognition it deserved in 1978 and has been celebrated on September 22nd every year there after.

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There is a little question about the actual date since the Gregorian Calendar and the Shire Calendar is slightly different (a Shire is the village a Hobbit lives in).

How to celebrate: Read, or re-read, the Hobbit. Get some popcorn and watch the movies (you’ll need a really big bag of popcorn). Dress up like a Hobbit and go to work.

 

September 21st National Pecan Cookie Day

It’s hard to beat a pecan cookie. Sweet and a little nutty and perhaps a little healthier than an Oreo. (Or maybe not) I do know it’s pretty hard for anyone to refuse this treat and it goes great with ice cream!

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In fact, a pecan goes with just about anything. White Chocolate, caramel, butterscotch… The pecan is a species of hickory.It is native to Arkansas, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. The actual name comes from t he Algonquian language and means, a nut that has to be cracked with a stone.

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I have to wonder how they figured out that a pecan could even be eaten.  I mean, if they had to use a stone to crack it open who would have thought of doing that? Of course we eat a lot of things that someone had to try first, like snails and squid.  Who looks at something that and goes, “Yum, I think I’ll eat that!”

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But we are glad they did because otherwise we couldn’t enjoy recipes like the one we have for you here.

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How to celebrate – Enjoy a pecan cookie in whatever style you prefer. Try a pecan coffee drink or ice cream.  Invent your own pecan and whatever cookie.