Happy Birthday President Lincoln!

Feb 12th

I am going to do my best to do justice to the celebrations today, but quite honestly I feel pretty awful.  The creeping crud that has been going around caught up with me, so with pounding head, and a cough that won’t stop, I’m trying to feel “fun” so I can celebrate!  Is it working?  hahaha   There was a pretty big selection of holidays to choose from today, and I did some selective picking and choosing.  There are just some things I refuse to celebrate, or spend time writing about.  Cuts down on how much I research too, which is a very good thing today.

Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday – Today is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday – though in modern times we celebrate Lincoln and all of the U.S. Presidents on President’s Day.  Every American knows (or should know – I’d like to take a poll of how many people ACTUALLY know) that Abraham Lincoln was our 16th president.  He was known as “Honest Abe”, born in the wilderness country of Hardin County, Kentucky, on this date in 1809.  He became president in 1861.  Even though he hated war, he was drawn into it as he believed that it was the only way to save the nation after the southern states declared their secession from the Union.  In addition to serving as our President during the Civil Warm and saving the Union, Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation that ended slavery in the United States forever.  He also wrote and gave The Gettysburg Address, memorializing the bloodiest and most important battle of the Civil War.  Gettysburg turned out to be the turning point of the war.  Shortly after the war ended, he became the first U.S. President to be assassinated.  He was shot and mortally wounded on Good Friday, April 14, 1865 by John Wilkes Booth in Ford’s Theatre.     
     

Oglethorpe Day – Here’s a bit of history I wasn’t aware of until today.  General James Edward Oglethorpe, born in London, England on December 22, 1696, along with 100 other Englishmen, landed at what is now Savannah, GA on February 12, 1733. They named the new colony George to honor England’s King George II.  Oglethorpe was the organizer and first governor of the colony, and the founder of the city of Savannah.  Both Oglethorpe Day and George Day are observed today. 

Paul Bunyan Day – Ah, Paul Bunyan.  I remember growing up we’d pass through this little town on my way to my Grandparent’s house where there were HUGE statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe The Blue Ox.  Those statues just filled my little imagination with the possibilities of all of the stories that I’d heard.  Paul Bunyan is a folk hero of the frontier, symbolizing the willingness to work hard and the determination to overcome all obstacles.  I’d truly like to know what happened to that way of thinking?  I’d like to blame it all on this current administration, and it has definitely been a HUGE contributor to the “give me something free” crowd, but this started many years ago, and year after year things have changed for the worse, to the point that I wake up in the morning and don’t even recognize the nation I love so much.  Anyway, back to Mr. Bunyan! (sorry, there are just moments I can’t help myself)  He was made popular by  newspapermen across the country in 1910  and has been a part of American culture ever since.    I ran across a wonderful website and there’s no way I could re-tell these stories in my own words and make it sound as good, so here is the site, and here are two stories that I copied and pasted from it.  Happy reading – this is great stuff!

Round River Drive
Wisconsin, Tall Tales
retold by
S. E. Schlosser
Well now Paul Bunyan scouted around the north woods of Wisconsin for quite a while afore he found the perfect spot for his winter lumber camp. It was right next to a fast river, and Paul figured they could pile the logs up right next to it and come spring time it would be mighty easy to tumble the logs into the river and float ‘em down to the mill.
Soon the woods beside that mighty river were bustling with activity, and calls of “timber!” as the lumberjacks felled the huge trees. Babe the Blue Ox and his cousin Little Benny were kept busy from dawn to dusk hauling logs to the river, and Sourdough Sam the cook hardly stepped foot outside his cooking shanty neither, working all day and most of the night to keep all them lumberjacks fed. Took about twenty cooking assistants alone just to make enough flapjacks for Paul Bunyan!
Well, by the time spring rolled around, they had logs piled up so high folks passing through Wisconsin mistook them for a mountain range and thought they’d reached the Rockies. The mighty river was free of ice, and Paul declared himself ready to take the first big batch of logs down-river to the saw mill the very next morning.
In preparation for his journey to civilization, Paul struggled out of his huge red long johns and took a bath in Lake Superior. Then he washed the long johns and strung them up to dry on the flagpole. When they flapped in the breeze, it scared the migrating birds so much they turned around and went back South.
Paul Bunyan, the shanty cook Joe Murphy, and the other river drivers all piled up onto the log raft and set off down the river. It was a pleasant ride overall, and it didn’t take more than three days for them to spot smoke rising above the woods.
“Can’t be the saw mill,” Paul Bunyan told his men. “That’s still a couple weeks away. Must be another lumber camp. I thought we were the only ones up this far. ”
The fellers watched awhile as the camp drew nearer and nearer. It had a huge cooking shanty more than an acre long and a great big barn and a fellow that looked jest like Sourdough Sam came out and rang the dinner bell to call the lumberjacks in to supper. There was even a pair of red long johns hanging from the flagpole.
“Looks like a nice place,” Joe Murphy said. “Just like our camp. Funny how they’ve got a pair of red long johns up on their flagpole, jest like us.” And the men all agreed. It was too bad they couldn’t stop and rest awhile, but they needed to get to the saw mill lickety split, so they jest kept going.
The river drivers were kept busy fighting the rapids and portaging over shallow spots for the next couple of days. On the third day they spotted smoke coming over the top of the trees.
“Another lumber camp!” Paul Bunyan exclaimed in irritation. “Jiminy! If this keeps up Wisconsin will be lumbered out in no time!”
The log raft floated past a huge cooking shanty more than an acre long, and a fellow what looked jest like Sourdough Sam waved to them from the doorway. Then they floated beside a huge barn big enough to fit Babe the Blue Ox. Finally, they rounded a bend and saw a tall flagpole with a pair of red long johns strung up at the top.
“These lumber camps all look alike,” Joe Murphy complained. “You’d think they’d have some variety or something!”
“And there’s too many of them,” Paul Bunyan replied as they floated on down the river toward the saw mill. “They are gonna put us out of business. I’ll have to look into it when we get back from the mill!”
At that moment they hit some rapids, just like they had right after seeing the first lumbercamp, and they were too busy working to say anymore about it.
But three days later, when they spotted yet another lumber camp, Paul Bunyan got mad. He was the first scout in these spots. How dare all these lumberjacks invade his territory without talking to him first! After all, the north woods were only so big.
“This dad-gum camp is jest like the rest!” exclaimed Joe Murphy as they poled the raft toward shore. “Same cooking shanty, same big barn, same flagpole with the long johns on top. Jiminy! Get some variety, folks!”
Paul Bunyan jumped out as soon as they reached the bank and went storming toward the main building to complain to the boss. But halfway there, Sourdough Sam himself came out of the cooking shanty to ring the supper bell.
“Sourdough! What are you doin’ here?” Paul Bunyan asked in astonishment.
“I work here,” said Sourdough Sam. “And so do you!”
“Dad-gum! You mean this is my camp?” asked Paul Bunyan.
“Sure ‘tis!” said Sourdough Sam. “We’ve been watchin’ you fellers floating past the camp every couple of days with the lumber and we’ve been wondering where you think yer going! I though you was headed south to the saw mill!”
“So we’ve been going round in a circle all this while,” mused Paul Bunyan. Then he started laughing and slapped his leg with his huge hand. “We musta been logging next to the Round River! I heard there was a big ol’ river in the north of Wisconsin that ran in a perfect circle with no way out. Guess this must be it!”
“That explains why we never reached a saw mill,” Joe Murphy said as he and the boys from the lumber raft came ashore to see what was keeping Paul Bunyan. “And why all the lumber camps looked the same!”
All the lumberjacks laughed heartily when they realized that Mother Nature had played a good joke on them. Who’d have ever guessed they were working on the only round river in the world!
Then they went into the cooking shanty and ate flapjacks until they were ready to burst. And Paul Bunyan went scouting around ‘til he found a river that really did run south to the saw mill, and they took the logs out that way instead. The next year Paul Bunyan was careful to avoid the Round River when scouting out a camp for the winter logging. Once was enough.
Babe the Blue Ox
Minnesota Tall Tales
retold by
S. E. Schlosser
Well now, one winter it was so cold that all the geese flew backward and all the fish moved south and even the snow turned blue. Late at night, it got so frigid that all spoken words froze solid afore they could be heard. People had to wait until sunup to find out what folks were talking about the night before.
Paul Bunyan went out walking in the woods one day during that Winter of the Blue Snow. He was knee-deep in blue snow when he heard a funny sound between a bleat and a snort. Looking down, he saw a teeny-tiny baby blue ox jest a hopping about in the snow and snorting with rage on account of he was too short to see over the drifts.
Paul Bunyan laughed when he saw the spunky little critter and took the little blue mite home with him. He warmed the little ox up by the fire and the little fellow fluffed up and dried out, but he remained as blue as the snow that had stained him in the first place. So Paul named him Babe the Blue Ox.
Well, any creature raised in Paul Bunyan’s camp tended to grow to massive proportions, and Babe was no exception. Folks that stared at him for five minutes could see him growing right before their eyes. He grew so big that 42 axe handles plus a plug of tobacco could fit between his eyes and it took a murder of crows a whole day to fly from one horn to the other. The laundryman used his horns to hang up all the camp laundry, which would dry lickety-split because of all the wind blowing around at that height.
Whenever he got an itch, Babe the Blue Ox had to find a cliff to rub against, ’cause whenever he tried to rub against a tree it fell over and begged for mercy. To whet his appetite, Babe would chew up thirty bales of hay, wire and all. It took six men with picaroons to get all the wire out of Babe’s teeth after his morning snack. Right after that he’d eat a ton of grain for lunch and then come pestering around the cook – Sourdough Sam – begging for another snack.
Babe the Blue Ox was a great help around Paul Bunyan’s logging camp. He could pull anything that had two ends, so Paul often used him to straighten out the pesky, twisted logging roads. By the time Babe had pulled the twists and kinks out of all the roads leading to the lumber camp, there was twenty miles of extra road left flopping about with nowhere to go. So Paul rolled them up and used them to lay a new road into new timberland.
Paul also used Babe the Blue Ox to pull the heavy tank wagon which was used to coat the newly-straightened lumber roads with ice in the winter, until one day the tank sprang a leak that trickled south and became the Mississippi River. After that, Babe stuck to hauling logs. Only he hated working in the summertime, so Paul had to paint the logging roads white after the spring thaw so that Babe would keep working through the summer.
One summer, as Babe the Blue Ox was hauling a load of logs down the white-washed road and dreaming of the days when the winter would feel cold again and the logs would slide easier on the “ice”, he glanced over the top of the mountain and caught a glimpse of a pretty yeller calf grazing in a field. Well, he twisted out of his harness lickety-split and stepped over the mountain to introduce himself. It was love at first sight, and Paul had to abandon his load and buy Bessie the Yeller Cow from the farmer before Babe would do any more hauling.
Bessie the Yeller Cow grew to the massive, yet dainty proportions that were suitable for the mate of Babe the Blue Ox. She had long yellow eyelashes that tickled the lumberjacks standing on the other end of camp each time she blinked. She produced all the dairy products for the lumber camp. Each day, Sourdough Sam made enough butter from her cream to grease the giant pancake griddle and sometimes there was enough left over to butter the toast!
The only bone of contention between Bessie and Babe was the weather. Babe loved the ice and snow and Bessie loved warm summer days. One winter, Bessie grew so thin and pale that Paul Bunyan asked his clerk Johnny Inkslinger to make her a pair of green goggles so she would think it was summer. After that, Bessie grew happy and fat again, and produced so much butter that Paul Bunyan used the leftovers to grease the whitewashed lumber roads in summer. With the roads so slick all year round, hauling logs became much easier for Babe the Blue Ox, and so Babe eventually came to like summer almost as much as Bessie.

 

 

This Day In History

1870 – Women in the Utah Territory win the right to vote.

Food Celebration of the Day

National Plum Pudding Day  – A classic British Christmas treat, plum pudding doesn’t actually contain plums! So, I wonder why they call it plum pudding and not fruit cake?  What I found out was that plum pudding contains flour and is as sweet and rich as any cake, it cannot be classified as cake because it doesn’t have any leavening in it, and it is not baked, but steamed.  Also, it has raisins and current in it, which used to be called plums!  Now it makes sense! 

The Old Manor House Christmas Pudding
Bread & Butter Pudding
Spotted Dick
Orange Steamed Pudding With Rum Butter
Cranberry-Cherry Steamed Pudding
Eton Mess

I hope you enjoyed the Paul Bunyan stories, and that you can take a few minutes to check out the other stories on that site.  They are pretty good, and one of the reasons this is later than I’d wanted.  I got a little caught up in some of them.  Have a wonderful Wednesday – God Bless You and I’ll see you tomorrow!

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