July 28th National Day of the Cowboy

Yee-haw, today is the National Day of the Cowboy! It’s created by the National Day of the Cowboy group in 2005. Who doesn’t like a cowboy? Rough, rugged and always polite.  It’s a really hard job but someone’s got to do it.

wild-west

Cowboys do live by a code. They are to be honest and have courage, Take pride in what they do, be curious about life, finish what one starts, keep any promise made, be tough but fair, maintain clean thoughts and deeds, always be tolerant, be a steward of the land and animals and stand up for what you believe in.

1513196702-hunks_tickets

And, of course, the unspoken rule made by the ladies… be a beef-cake. For most cowboys this isn’t too hard because the work they do makes them stay fit. They may not always be real clean and smell good, but looking good is half the battle!

8847634_f496

Cowboys have always been around, in one form or another. There job was to bring the animals in their charge to where they are needed. Along the line they had weather, other animals and people they had to protect the herd from. With many learning the art of horseback riding during the Civil War, they went west to ply their trade, settling a wild land as they did.

images (1)

So go ahead, and make their day by celebrating their heritage with them. They have never been perfect, but they never tried to be. They just did the best they could with what they had.

How to celebrate – Live by the code of the cowboy. Read about the cowboy.  Take a vacation, living the life of a cowboy.

Advertisements

June 19th Juneteenth Day

The American Civil War had little, and everything, to do with slavery. Slavery became a cause, not of the war, but for those who both wanted the war to continue and those who wanted it to stop. No man should ever be another slave, but in the mid 1800’s it was a way of life.

american-civil-war-toy-soldiers-2017

Most soldiers on either side of the conflict knew much about slavery. In the north, the industrialization no longer required such cheap labor (In fact, many slaves in the south earned more than freedmen in the north). The average Confederate soldier could not afford slaves. So neither side had first hand dealings with slavery, regardless of the stories told.

nastemancipation

It was a political situation and things were not going well for the north. So on September 22, 1862 Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation interestingly freeing the slaves in only the states he no longer had control over. It was an effort to keep England out of the war and from siding with the south. (England had already outlawed slavery). It worked. I am quite sure Lincoln had the best of intentions ending slavery but it is not why he made the proclamation.

images (1)

No doubt if Lincoln had lived he would have made slavery illegal in the U.S. but when he died, it was only the law of the land in the south. He avoided nation wide because Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee could have left the Union if he had freed slaves countrywide.

download

Freedom came when General Gordon Granger marched into Galveston, Texas on June 19th, 1965 officially ending the war. The 13th Amendment freeing all the slaves came on January 31st, 1865 declared by Congress.

How to celebrate – Learn more about slavery in America. Learn more about the Civil War in America. Celebrate freedom.

June 5th Hot Air Balloon Day

Today is Hot Air Balloon Day. I have no idea why but it is so why fight it? Hot Air balloons have been around us for a while, the first recorded flight was on November 11th, 1783… but there may have been flights before then.

Philippine-Hot-Air-Balloon-Fiesta-photo-by-Balloonteam.net_

During the American Civil War they were used for reconnaissance, mainly on the Union side but the Confederacy had them as well. During World War 1 they were still used for observation but it was discovered that they equally made a steady platform for dropping bombs on the enemy below. Most were known as dirigibles.

images (3)

The biggest problem with these early balloons is that they were normally filled with hydrogen, a very flammable chemical that would explode around heat. Since the gas had to be heated to lift off, this caused a little bit of a problem. The most famous tragedy concerning a Hydrogen balloon was the Hindenburg, a pleasure flight.

images (2)

Eventually helium replaced hydrogen and being a much more stable gas, the problem was overcome. Today, balloons are used mainly for entertainment purposes and romantic interludes.

images (4)

How to celebrate – Go on a hot air balloon ride. Learn how to fly a hot air balloon. Watch the movie, “Around The World In 80 Days”.

April 22nd National Jelly Bean Day

Who doesn’t enjoy a good jelly bean!?! I mean, can you pass by a bowl of jelly beans without taking a handful? Not me! No one knows exactly when the jelly bean came into existence but they were advertised as far back as the Civil War as the ideal treat to send to the Union soldiers in the field.

4333fdbd8fe9ca0e2a1c916e9ac8b346

Somehow they also became an Easter favorite. I remember being told they were rabbit droppings… as a kid, I thought that was cool but as an adult it’s a little disgusting. I still eat them though so I guess I got over the idea pretty quick!

images (2)

And naturally, the jelly bean has progressed over the years, the flavors have grown and even, in some cases, the shapes. I am still trying to deal with jelly beans that taste like popcorn or cheese steak.. not my favorite but some really like them. And then there are those that no one likes that taste awful… dish soap, axle grease or toenails. What really bothers me is that someone had create those tastes by actually knowing what the substance taste like!

images (1)

There are fine works of art created out of jelly beans. Here again, I don’t know if I can appreciate the art but I guess that all depends on your taste. (Get it! Taste!) So when asking what your art form is does the artist respond, ” jelly bean”?

images (3)

I don’t think I have ever met anyone who does not like a jelly bean, I mean, they may have other favorites and the jelly bean may not be on the top of the list but if offered, they general take at least one.. or two… or twenty.

How to celebrate – Have some jelly beans today, after all if you have children you probably have some left over from Easter.  Try and create your ow new flavor of jelly bean. Make certain that what you believe is a jelly bean is indeed a jelly bean before eating.

February 12th Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday

Today is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, February 12th, 1809. He is truly one of the greatest Presidents we have ever had, though if you study history it may not be for what you think he should be remembered for. He held this country together at a time when it could easily have fallen apart and led a nation through the bloodiest wars it has ever seen.

abraham-lincoln---the-call-of-leadership

A young Lincoln did not have a very joyful life. He worked hard, studied and bettered himself on his way to becoming the President. His one true love died before he could marry her and he settled in with a woman that was just as depressed as he was.

279_civil-war-soldiers2eee

Becoming President, he found himself in control of a divided union that would have most likely succumbed with anyone else in charge. The issues were purely economical and the rights of the states over the rights of the Federal government. It was a war that the south could never win but the union could easily lose.

images (1)

Though Lincoln is probably best known for the Emancipation Proclaimation it too was not what the history books often show it to be. Lincoln was anti-slavery, but slavery was only a rally call for the war. The Proclaimation was written to keep England and France out of the war, siding with the Confederacy. Since slavery was abolished in those countries, and somewhat now in the north, those countries could not very well help the Confederacy. The only slaves freed by the Proclamation were those in the states Lincoln had no control over.

download

No doubt Lincoln would have freed all the slaves had he lived long enough.  John Wilkes Booth saw to it that he did not have the opportunity. On April 14th, Good Friday, Booth assasinated Lincoln at Ford’s Theater.

How to celebrate – Read more about Lincoln and learn the truth of his Presidency. Make a cake for Lincoln, but don’t expect him to show up to eat it. Learn the real causes of the Civil War.

May 29th Memorial Day

All sacrificed some, some sacrificed all. This is the day we should remember all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice to keep our country free, preserve our human rights and allow America to still be that beacon on the hill.

7e506b0921df855f220fc5d90e5b545e

It started as Decoration Day following the Civil War.  As families began to recover from the death of loved ones they began to decorate their graves with flowers blooming from the spring as the summer months began to approach. It was the first time in American history when graveyards had been separated for the fallen soldiers as there were simply too many to be sent back home to be buried. It didn’t matter what side they had fought on, all the graves would be decorated.

398_1_

In 1882 the name was changed to Memorial Day, remember all those who had fallen in the name of America, and across the world. Families would gather, share a meal near the gravesite and then decorate the graves of their fallen loved ones, friends and even the occasional stranger.

african-americans-wwii-082

It seems the least we could do for all they have done, and given, for us. No one wants to be forgotten when they are gone. Unfortunately the list continues to grow. World War 2 created many heroes from men and women that might have lived relatively quiet lives otherwise.

Two US Soldiers Helping Wounded Third

And Vietnam, while not popular, created a longer list with many more heroes many Americans seemed to try and forget. Like the war or not, the men and women who fought it are to be remembered just as in any war America has fought. In 1971 Congress set Memorial Day to the last Monday in May.

10244125-large

There will be more wars. There will be more death. Their will be more graves to decorate and more heroes to be born. It is up to us to remember them because you can bet your life, they remembered you.

How to celebrate – Decorate a soldiers grave today. Remember any in your family who served in the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines. Be truly thankful for those who have served, not just because you think you should but because you know you should.

April 22nd National Jellybean Day

Made from sugar, corn syrup and either pectin or starch, the jellybean has become as much a part of American tradition as, well, any candy ever made.  It is believe that the jellybean may have been invented by a Boston confectioner, William Schrafft.

983px-US_Military_Telegraph_Operators,_Headquarters,_Army_of_the_Potomac._July_1863._-_NARA_-_530480

What is known is that advertisements appeared during the Civil War that suggested jellybeans be sent to the troops fighting the war as a treat and to help keep up the fighting spirit.

220px-JellyBean1920

They were mentioned again in 1905 in the Chicago Daily News, and regularly advertised for sale after that. It’s popularity grew when it became egg shaped and assumed a roll in Easter.

jelly-collection

Today companies have figured out how to add flavoring to the jellybean and make it taste like practically anything. Even somethings that aren’t so good! Ah, give mankind long enough and he can find a way to ruin anything!

C315-2
1/26/1981 President Reagan with jellybeans with Alexander Haig and Richard Allen during a meeting with Interagency Working Committee on Terrorism in the Cabinet Room

Even the Gipper loved his jellybeans. In fact, I don’t believe I’ve ever met anyone who did not enjoy jellybeans. While they are an Easter favorite, they can be enjoyed any time of the year and they are a candy treat meant to be shared.

How to celebrate – Buy some jellybeans! There is a new game popular among those who eat jellybeans, a taste test of sorts, including jellybeans that are purposely meant to taste really bad. Get a party together and do your own taste test encounter. Try this recipe to make your own jellybeans.