This is always a fascinating day in my year, since – even though we don’t celebrate on the proper date anymore – it’s Washington’s birthday. The more I read about and study who George Washington was, the more I am convinced that he truly was the father of our country. His accomplishments on behalf of our new nation is really overwhelming, when you think about it, and then, as much of the country was ready to simply name him king of America, at that moment he stepped down, and handed incredible power back to the people. February 22 should still be celebrated for the day it is. Now, I love Abraham Lincoln too, and many other (but not all!) presidents who served our country, but George takes the pie as #1. Cherry pie, of course.
However, a quick study of what else has occurred on February 22 gives us quite the unusual list of persons and “things that happened.” Let’s look at a few, and how they match up with George:
896 – How could we forget the date, way back when, when Pope Formosus (remember him?) was crowned Arnulf King of Carinthia AND Holy Roman Emperor. For someone practically forgotten in history, he sure had some cool titles.
1630 – How about the date when Native Americans introduced the Pilgrims to popcorn! It ought to be movie theaters’ grand celebration day! And they introduced it at that year’s Thanksgiving, held in February. However, notice that it was NINE years after the first Thanksgiving… were they holding out on the Pilgrims, or what? Seems like a long time to “just forget” about popcorn…
1732 – George’s birthday. We’ve already been over that.
1819 – This I didn’t know, but it was after the War of 1812, after the Revolutionary War, and even after the Louisiana Purchase, that the US finally bought Florida from Spain. And college students on spring break, and retired snow birds have never looked back.
1879 – A scant 70 years after we got Florida, just to show how much can change, the First Woolworth 5 and dime store was opened up in Utica, New York. A new concept in a store that truly was meant to sell small, inexpensive items that homemakers and elementary children have needed ever since. Of course, the first store closed almost as quickly as it opened, and the second one, which did succeed, opened in Lancaster, PA.
A few more…
1903 – during a terrible drought, Niagara Falls ran dry. At least it gave them a little time to clear out the skeletons and broken barrels left from bad decisions.
1935 – we knew it was just a matter of time. The ruling went out that airplanes were no longer permitted to fly over the White House. I guess Franklin and Eleanor were tired of getting buzzed by pilots on their way to spring break in Florida.
1980 – Here is a more recent and important memory. It was on this date that the incredible “Miracle on Ice” happened, and the US Olympic hockey team, made up mostly of rookies and all amateurs, actually beat the USSR team, which was packed with soldiers and professional hockey players. USSR had taken the gold in the previous 4 Olympics, and USA didn’t have a chance. Except they did, and they took it, and took home the gold.
1997 – last one. We took a peek through the cracked open doorway to the future, when on Feb 22, 1997, Dolly was born. The first animal successfully cloned.
Now, my mind can’t help but to be in wonder about what is going to occur on this February 22 in all the years to come. Will another Washington be born? Or will it be another Pope Formosus? What will be the “new” popcorn? Or the new Florida? The wonder-full thing about the future is that it’s not here yet. What will occur is only limited by the people involved, and sometimes not even that – when you think about Niagara Falls, and all…
I believe it is important, as I’ve said before, to not walk into the future just looking at the toes of our shoes. Not to get caught up in the tiny, minute, really-not-worth-wasting-time-on little stuff, but instead to dream, to imagine, to think of what “might be” – and to wonder – can make each day a day in history worth looking at, and hoping for, intentionally as the dreamers we can be, when we allow ourselves to look at that far horizon. Enjoy this day in history!
Saying for the day: Today, you get a two-for-one. First, from Walt Disney: “The way to get started is to stop talking, and start doing.” Second, from Margaret Mead, a wonderful anthropologist: “Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.”
Enjoy finding ways to insert those two sayings into some conversation before the day is over!
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.