Finding Rainbows, Celebrating Frogs and Lots of Other Fun!

Apr 3rd

Humor – Joke of the Day

Tom, Dick and Harry went to a party. After the party they returned to the hotel. The hotel was 600 stories high.  Unfortunately for them, the elevator was not working. They made a plan for the first 200 stories, Tom will crack jokes.  The second 200 stories Dick will tell a happy story and lastly Harry will tell a sad story.They then started up the steps.  After 2 hours it was Harry’s turn. He turned to the other two and said “OK guys, here’s my sad story. I forgot the keys downstairs.

Don’t Go to Work Unless it’s Fun Day – Oooooh maybe this is your day to sleep in!  When this day falls on a Saturday or Sunday when you are usually off work, it makes celebrating it easy.  If it happens during the work week though, you may need to plan ahead and take a vacation day, otherwise your boss may have an issue with it.  Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to wake up and just decide to stay home if you wanted without any repercussions?  Unless your job is fun, then you may not want to celebrate this one.  For the people who are employers – to help maintain attendance at work today, do something that will make the day fun!  Just keep in mind – unless you get permission from your boss, don’t celebrate this one. All of this is great, but you wouldn’t want to lose your job over it.  Now, I have it easy today – I have Wednesdays off, so this day is a good one for me. 

Find A Rainbow Day – I remember as a child hearing the story of Noah’s Ark and God’s promise not to destroy the earth in a flood again.  He placed the rainbow in the sky as the reminder of this covenant.  From that time on, I must have been 4 or 5 when I actually was able to make sense of the story in my little mind, I would see a rainbow and tell God thank you for the promise and the beautiful colors of the rainbow.  Even now I am awed by the sight of one.  When I was in about the 4th grade my science project was about creating rainbows using prisms and a light source.  At one point I had little tear drop crystals hanging in windows watching the beautiful colors dance on the walls.  For anyone who cannot remember the order of the colors in the rainbow, there is an acronym that is often used . . . “Roy G. Biv” – one of the acronyms I have heard. Each letter of the name stands for a color of the rainbow –  in order … red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. (Although a true rainbow actually contains colors along the entire spectrum.)   Today, if your weather permits, keep your eyes open for that beautiful promise from God in the sky.  It’ll lift the spirit no matter how the rest of your day is going.

 

Pony Express Day – On April 3, 1860, the first Pony Express mail, traveling by horse and rider relay teams, simultaneously left St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California.  On April 13th, 10 days later, the westbound rider and mail packet completed the approximately 1,800 mile journey and arrived in Sacramento.  He beat the eastbound packet’s arrival in St. Joseph by 2 days and set the new standard for speedy mail delivery.  The Pony Express was short-lived and unprofitable, but it captured America’s imagination and helped win federal aid for a more economical overland postal system.  While the Pony Express was active it contributed to the economy of the towns on its route, serving the mail service needs of the American West in the days before the telegraph or an efficient transcontinental railroad.  It debuted at a time before radios and telephones, when California, which achieved statehood in 1850, was still very cut off from the eastern part of the country.  Letters that were sent from New York to the West Coast traveled by ship, which usually took at least a month, or by stagecoach on the Butterfield Express overland route.  This took from three weeks to many months to arrive.  When compared to the snail’s pace of the ship or stagecoach methods, the Pony Express’ average delivery time of 10 days seemed really fast! 

The Pony Express Company was the brainchild of William H. Russell, William Bradford Waddell and Alexander Majors, owners of a freight business.  It  was set up with over 150 relay stations along a pioneer trail across what are now the states of Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and California.  Riders were paid about $25 each week and carried loads up to about 20 pounds of mail.  Every 75 to 100 miles riders changed, horses were switched out every 10-15 miles.  Among the riders was the legendary frontiersman and showman, William “Buffalo Bill” Cody (1846-1917).  It is said that he signed on with the Pony Express when he was 14 years old.  The company’s riders set their fastest time with Lincoln’s inaugural address, which was delivered in just less than eight days.  The initial cost of Pony Express delivery was $5 for every 1/2 oz of mail.  The company began as a private enterprise and the owners had hoped to gain a profitable delivery contract from the US Government, but it never happened.  With the start of the first transcontinental telegraph line in October of 1861, the Pony Express stopped operating.  The legend however, of the lone Pony Express rider galloping across the Old West frontier to deliver the mail, lives on today.  So cool!  Happy Birthday Pony Express Company. 
 

National Day of Hope – This month is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and this, the first Wednesday of the month, is Childhelp National Day of Hope.  It is a day to remember all of the children in America who have died and are dying at a rate of five per day as a result of abuse and neglect.  The statistics for child abuse and neglect are horrifying.  About 80% of the children who die from neglect and abuse are under the age of 4.  About 30% of children who are neglected or abused will grow up to abuse their own children.  In 2008, the estimated cost to the U.S. resulting from child abuse and neglect was $124 billion.  Being aware of these horrifying numbers, donating to organizations that help children escape this cycle of abuse, and get them the help they need mentally and emotionally, and helping to place them in loving, safe home, should be the goal for everyone.  My heart just aches and I cannot fathom harming any child, anywhere, ever.  These numbers just stagger me.  Please keep these children in your prayers daily.  It’s the very least we can do.

National Walking Day – When I think of all the hours I have spent sitting at a desk over the years, it becomes very clear to me why my backside is as wide as my office chair!  We, as a nation are more sedentary than every before.  This isn’t just a weight issue, this level of inactivity doubles the risk of heart disease.  Hope is not lost though. This is a problem that can be helped by getting off our duffs and getting moving.  Today is the American Heart Associations National Walking Day.  Americans are encouraged to lace up their walking shoes and take at least a 30 minute walk today.  It’s a great way to raise awareness of the importance of physical activity and give your families, friends and co-workers a friendly push towards a healthier life.

Monthlies

Cranberries and Gooseberries Month – What’s not to love about berries, but especially THESE berries.  Here’s a little information about them both. 

Cranberries grow on vines in boggy areas.  They were first cultivated in Massachusetts around 1815 and are only one of three major native North American fruits.  Some cranberry beds have been around for over 100 years.  Most of the cranberry crop in the U.S. is grown in five states – Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington.  I’ve seen the bogs in Washington – its pretty cool to see!  Each year more than 110,000 metric tons of cranberries are produced in the United States. Most are harvested using machines, but the machines damage the berries, and though damaged berries are not suitable to sell fresh, they work well for juices, jellies and other products.  Fresh whole berries are often expensive because they have to be hand picked to avoid the damage caused by machine picking.  Native Americans used cranberries for both their medicinal and natural preservative powers.  They brewed cranberry mixtures to draw poison from arrow wounds, and pounded cranberries into a past and mixed the paste with dried meat to extend the life of the meat.  (interesting to know!)   I could go on and on about cranberries, but I won’t.  It could take a lot of my time AND yours!  Just know that cranberries make delicious sauces and juice, it makes a wonderful liver detox drink,  and know not to make the mistake of drinking undiluted cranberry juice that hasn’t been sweetened.  Unlocking the jaws takes just too long!

 

At one time gooseberries played a huge role in wines, pies and puddings for the English and in the colonial days.  Today though, many of those recipes have all but disappeared from cookbooks.  Gooseberries are grown on a commercial scale in Oregon, but most of the crop is canned.  Fresh berries are usually imported and found in specialty produce markets.  Gooseberries have been increasing again over the past few years, and fresh berries are becoming easier to find.  I’ve never tried them, but from what I have read they have are a sweet tangy mixture of pineapple and strawberry.  The fruits make an interesting addition to salads, cooked dishes and even as a garnish.  I think if I ever see them in the store – fresh ones anyway – I’m going to get some to try.  They sound really good!

 

Frog Month – An entire month to celebrate frogs.  A day I can understand, but a month?  Whoever started THIS celebration really must have loved these little guys.  Frogs actually play a very important part in the amphibian world.  They help control the insect population, they can provide hours of entertainment for little kids, in some cultures frog legs are a delicacy (heck my own dad loves them) and they sound so pretty singing their songs as spring comes around.  We can really hear them in the evenings around our neighborhood.  I remember when I was little my Uncle Steve would come over – Steve is just a few years older than I am – and we would catch tadpoles (these are baby frogs before they’ve grown their legs, so they are just squirmy, fishy looking critters) and fill up my little wading pool with them.  Steve would be so disappointed when he worked all day to collect them and my Dad would make him dump the pool back into the lake. Not sure WHAT he intended to do with the tadpoles, but I remember him standing knee deep in the lake staring intently at the bottom, then quick as a flash he’d snatch a tadpole out of the water and run with it the 10 feet or so to my wading pool and put it into the water inside with all the other tadpoles.  He’d get so many that you couldn’t see the bottom of the pool.  I remember one other time he caught a bullfrog.  Bullfrogs are really HUGE frogs!  He captured this thing, then stuffed it into a quart size jar.  Poor frog.  He was FAR too big for the jar, so all you could see is this poor frogs face smooshed up to the glass with his front feet framing his eyes.  Dad made Steve release the bullfrog too – which broke Steve’s heart, but gave the frog many stories to tell his children at home.  If you get the chance to listen to the frogs on a beautiful spring evening, take the time to appreciate them.  They are going to help keep your area free of at least some of the bugs, and provide evening entertainment for the season.

Straw Hat Month or Day – I’m not actually sure which this is – Month, Day or Both.  I’ve found listings of this celebration in both categories.  Either way, it  began way back in 1915 and was often celebrated at ballparks. The story goes that the men would punch holes in their hats, then sail them out onto the ball field.  (I couldn’t find out why they’d do that – seems like a waste of a hat)  It was frowned on to wear a straw hat unless it was actually straw hat season, sort of like only wearing white during a certain time of the year.  Like the wear white season, there was a straw hat season!  According to the book by Neil Steinber “Hatless Jack” men have actually been killed for wearing a straw hat out of season.  I couldn’t confirm whether or not that was true or just the theme in his book.  Whatever the truth in that though – this is the time of year to put away the warm and woolly winter hats and get out the straw hats!  I’d have to actually BUY one first, but you get the idea.

Food Celebration Time!  Today I have a monthly food and a daily one for you.  Yes, the berries are foods, but I mean PREPARED foods.

Grilled Cheese Month – Is there anything quite as comforting as a grilled cheese sandwich? Something about it just makes me smile.  I remember Mom’s – always perfectly browned, with just the right amount of butter on the bread, and the ooey gooey cheese melted inside.  Dipping the sandwich into my tomato soup was just the perfect way to eat them!  Grilled cheese can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  They can be created anyway you want – with meat and veges, plain, with condiments.  There’s really no end to the way you can make and enjoy a grilled cheese sandwich.  We actually had them for dinner last night!

Rainbow Food is on the menu today to go along with Find A Rainbow Day.  The rainbow foods I found included jelly’s, jello’s, cupcakes and cakes.  Anything that comes in a bright vibrant hue will do, so let your imagination be your guide.  I think we’re going to have jello for dessert tonight – it’s been awhile and sounds good!

I’m getting caught up finally!  Each day I’ve gotten things done closer on to the start of the day. Tomorrow should get things completely back on track.  Enjoy some of today’s reading and celebrations.  God Bless You and I’ll see you tomorrow!

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