May Days 2017
Star Wars Day May 5th, 2017
George Lucas created Star Wars in 1977, “A long time ago in a Galaxy far, far away.” Since then there have been seven movies made with two more on the list yet to be created.
Characters such as Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobie, R2D2, C-3PO, Yoda, Han Solo and Chewbacca have become common names in today’s society worldwide.
It is one of the few series in history where a child can grow to be a parent and share new releases with their children. “May the Force be with you.”
Suggested ways to celebrate: Go see a Star Wars movie, get family members to play different characters from Star Wars, meditate to become one with the force.
When A. A. Milne wrote Winnie the Pooh in 1926 I wonder if he knew the lasting effects it would have on society. Winnie, along with Christopher Robin, Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet, Kanga, and Roo have entered the hearts of so many that they will probably never be forgotten.
Milne’s illustrator, E. H. Shepard, did the art for all of Milne’s series on Pooh. The images have changed slightly over the years but not by all that much. The idea that they could exist practically the same after nearly a hundred years is amazing. It shows that down deep, we are not all that different from people who are now our grandparents and great grandparents.
Allan Alexander Milne’s birthday was January 18th, 1882 making the selection of January 18th the natural day to celebrate Winnie the Pooh. Christopher Robin was Milne’s son in real life, and Winnie was a teddy bear favorite of his son’s. Milne served in World War 1 with the British Army and as a Captain of the Home Guard during World War 2.
Of course Winnie is currently owned by Disney, who-else. However the stories remain the same and the characters basically unchanged. I do wonder if Pooh had not been purchased by Disney if it might have long been forgotten. And unlike the Grimms fairytales Pooh’s Aventures were never intended to frighten children or give them nightmares.
There is so much right about Winnie the Pooh and the positive effect it has on children it is hard to argue its value. A story about best friends tends to help create best friends. We all could do with a little more of that.
How to celebrate – Share a Winnie the Pooh story with a child. Thumb through one of Milne’s books to rekindle your own memories. Visit Winnie at one of the many Disney parks.
One of America’s most beloved animated characters is Disney’s Mickey Mouse – though he did not start out that way.
Mickey started out as Oswald the Rabbit in 1927, created by the Disney Brothers for Universal Studios. His life was short lived and so was the the Brothers’ activities with Universal. Back on their own, the Brothers created Mortimer Mouse which also had 2 animated shorts before Walt’s wife suggested maybe the name Mickey would be better. November 18th, 1928 Mickey Mouse was born and he has never looked back since.
Mickey’s first animated short with a voice was “Karnival Kid”, though he had previously appeared in “Steamboat Willie” and his first script was “Plane Crazy”. In 1935, Fred Moore made Mickey a little more lovable and movable as Mickey took on a new look after he had gone nationwide in 1930.
The original Mickey looked surprisingly a lot like Oswald the Rabbit! His first fan club outside of California was in Salem, Oregon where he help serve as a fundraiser to the Salvation Army. He first appeared in Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in 1934.
Joined by his friends Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto, Mickey sort of joined a vaudeville act and became the character we all know, and sort of love, these days. Later on, the Mickey Mouse club was formed.
How to celebrate – Go visit Mickey! Join the Mickey Mouse club. See if you can create your own Mickey type characters and perhaps start your own empire.
Living here in Orlando, Florida, hopping a park means something entirely different than it does across most of the rest of the world. Here for us to park-hop means to go from Disney to Disney Studios to EPCOT to Animal Kingdom. This can be fun but it also sort of stressful and really, really hot during the summer.
For most of the rest of the world, hopping a park means going to some place you can relax and enjoy your day with a picnic or just laying out in the shade. Parks are genuinely beautiful. They are nature’s way of telling us to slow down and enjoy mother nature, even if it’s man made!
It’s a place to reflect or just let your mind go free. A chance to breathe in the fresh air and enjoy a nice refreshing breeze. Maybe go boating, or swimming, or play volleyball. To enjoy the company of those around you.
I don’t know if there is anything as refreshing as jumping into a body of water to cool down on those really hot days. Floating leisurely around a lake as the sun sets and diving off wooden platforms into crystal clear water… now that’s the life!
Some parks have been the site of some past not-so-pleasant historic events. It may have been where a Civil War or Revolutionary War battle took place. These sites seem particularly quiet as people pay reverence to those who fell on the field.
The main thing is to just get out and enjoy the great outdoors.
You might want to wear a little sunscreen and wear a hat and sunglasses (seeing how it is UV Safety Month). Shorts and t-shirts are just fine, you don’t need to dress up – the trees won’t care.
How to celebrate: Look for parks in your area where you can spend some time. Plan a picnic for your friends and family. Go for a walk by yourself and get your thoughts together.
What can be more fun than listening to a Barbershop Quartet? Four part harmony that blends together a Lead, Tenor, Baritone and Bass. (Normally male but there are also many female quartets as well.) Now you might think that these quartets come from Gospel and Minstrels and of course, many do. However, even back in Shakespeare’s day there were groups that performed exactly like the modern, or more modern, day groups. They were often accompanied by a lute but nothing else.
The Barbershop quartet became popular in America during the late 1800’s, often accompanied by a banjo. In more recent years most barbershop is done a-capella, without musical accompaniment. On April 11th, 1938 the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, named April 11th as Barbershop Quartet Day. Songs like, “Shine On Harvest Moon”, “Hello, Ma Baby” and “Sweet Adeline” have become classics for the Barbershoppers.
If you stop and think about it, rock and roll, R&B and many other modern day forms of music owe a lot to the barbershop quartet. 4 part harmony, a mainstay of many hits started with barbershop techniques. The Beatles, Doobie Brothers, Mamma’s & Papa’s, all have roots deep in the barbershop history. If you ever watched the film, “The Music Man” it was filled with barbershop quartet material. The Buffalo Bills performed at Robert Preston’s will bringing a lighter and funnier side to the movie. And who hasn’t taken that ride at Disney where the barbershop grave quartet perform on a “nightly” basis.
To celebrate, listen to a barbershop quartet. Try singing in a barbershop quartet. Come up with your own list of modern-day musical performers that use barbershop stylings.