On this beautiful rainy morning in Fargo, where we have received the first measurable precipitation in two months, I thought I would take the opportunity to remind of us what happened on other April 8ths in history:
217ad – Roman Emperor Caracalla is assassinated. You know, it must have been pretty rough being an emperor, no matter if things were going well or not. They estimate around 30 emperors were assassinated in Rome’s rule over the years. They are certain of 23, but another 8 are kind of suspicious. I would also guess less than 5% of us know ol’ Caracalla – and yet, he made the list.
1093 – Winchester Cathedral is dedicated, making it 928 years old. I do hope they have upgraded the heating system. And how many of us know this cathedral by the great pop song of 1966 by the New Vaudeville Band, as we all sang about Winchester Cathedral, you’re bringing me down… I expect you are singing it right now, aren’t you?
1766 – the first fire escape is patented. Unfortunately, it consists of a wicker basket and a pulley and chain. You would be ok, unless the basket caught an ember on the way down…
1820 – the statue, Venus Di Milo, was discovered in pieces on the island of Milos (hence her last name). Too bad they couldn’t find her arms – we just have to imagine what she is doing with them.
1879 – Milk is first sold in glass bottles. We can also pretty well predict that immediately afterwards, somebody accidentally knocked them over and sent broken glass all over the sidewalk. Wasn’t me…
1904 – We got a name change, when New York’s Longacre Square became “Times Square,” and the NY Times moved their business into the area. Of course, that only lasted until 1913, when they moved about two more times before building a new building after 2001, and are now a good four or five blocks away from their “square.”
1974 – Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run, finally breaking Babe Ruth’s all time record that was set in 1935, Ruth’s last season as a player.
1994 – Smoking is banned at the Pentagon, and on all US military bases. Finally.
As I think about April 8th in history, I wonder how many billions of other significant events have occurred. There have been great battles, great elections, great sporting events, lots of popes elected, and lots of other famous people dying. Beyond those, however, I think of the billions of important events people like you and me have experienced. How many births over the centuries? How many first kisses? How many engagements, or weddings? How many other notable “things” happened today, like a move to a new job, or retiring – or a death that changes families and lives forever?
I’m actually planning on leaving this April 8th as a normal day in history, but I do hope, if your April 8th becomes a significant day, that it is a day of blessing and joy for you. After all, I read somewhere that “This is the day that the Lord has made – let us rejoice and be glad in it!” Sounds like a pretty good plan to follow, on this April 8th, 2021.
Word for the day: echolalia. Pronounced ek-oh-LAY-lee-ya. It’s a nice Greek word that sounds like what it is. Echo, which was the name of a mythical nymph who lost her ability to speak except for the last words of the one in conversation with her – it was Hera’s fault. So it means “repeat.” Lalia is one of those words that is written to describe what is happening – just say “la la la la” over and over again, and you will have the meaning of “prattle or speech.” Echolalia is simply the act of repeating whatever another person is saying. It’s often an expression of autism, or schizophrenia – but it’s also a very effective weapon used by older brothers to drive their younger siblings crazy and likely to tears, as they repeat everything the younger one says without ceasing.
By the way, echopraxis is a related term, with praxis meaning “practice,” so in this case, it is the repetition of the movement of another person without ceasing. Also good for making your little sister mad. That’s a big brother’s role.
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.