By WILLIAM J. KELLY
Years ago we celebrated both George Washington’s and Abraham Lincoln’s birthdays on Feb. 22 and Feb. 12, respectfully. I, like most of you, thought that in 1968 the two birthdays were combined into Presidents’ Day.
However, in searching for the actual year of its inception, I learned that the third Monday of February was officially Washington’s birthday, and no mention of Lincoln’s birthday was included. It was just dropped. This all happened when the federal government decided to schedule all federal holidays on Mondays to give we people a long three-day holiday, and it was influenced by businesses that wanted the extra day for sales to off-work shoppers.
I personally think that Washington, as the father of our country, should have his own designated federal and state holiday. A president’s day could be designated to honor all other presidents, and each new president’s name could be added with all the previous presidents’ names. What do you think?
• From George Washington our first president: “If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” “The constitution is the guide which I never will abandon.”
• From Abraham Lincoln, our 16th president: “Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.” “We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts; not to overthrow the Congress, but to overthrow the men who pervert it.”
Note that both of these great presidents had very strong belief in the Constitution. What do you think?
As a boy, I was aware that we all had cherry pie on Washington’s birthday. This probably came about when George’s dad asked who cut his cherry tree down? Young George said, “I cannot tell a lie, I did it.” True or not, we young ones were told this story to teach us not to tell a lie.
In first grade, on Washington’s birthday, the teacher, Miss Morris, asked me to stand up. I did so, and then she had the class sing, “Can You Bake a Cherry Pie, Billy Boy, Billy Boy?” This embarrassed me back then because I thought only girls baked pies. Parents, be sure to bake a cherry pie next year on Washington’s birthday. What do you think?
Get out and vote
March 4 is Election Day, the day each party selects its favorite candidate for the many offices in our land. Perhaps we all should do what Solomon did – he asked God for wisdom. That probably is not possible for most of us, so I suggest looking up a candidate’s voting record and compare it with his campaign talks.
If a new kid on the block reads the newspapers, listens to the radio news, watches television political news and attend local party meetings, then he/she can compare the rhetoric. Word of mouth is sometimes interesting. Nationwide we have not been selecting very good candidates for office, so try not to vote for people who lie and are for the evil things in life. What do you think?
‘Animal Crackers In My Soup’
If you have not seen and heard little Shirley Temple singing that song, or haven’t seen her doing a difficult dance routine with the famous Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, you need to do so.
At about the age of 6 or 7, she was the most popular movie star in the United States for four years. My grandparents were in the theater business and they attended previews of movies. When they saw Shirley Temple, they were more excited about her future success than I ever saw them about any other actor.
Shirley died this past week. Her movie career was short, but I guarantee that if you see her sing “On The Good Ship Lollipop,” her face will be embedded in your heart and brain forever. What do you think?
I was the oldest child in my family, so I received the first small Flexible Flyer sled. It did not snow that Christmas Day, so I could not test it out. That sled was used by me, my three brothers, my sister and my own children later on.
Of course, as I grew older, I would get the next larger size sled until we had all four sizes available. I can remember standing by the window, my chin on the sill, waiting for the snow flurries to, as we said, “stick.” Usually they did not! When they did, my mother would bundle me up with sweaters, a warm coat and noisy buckled boots over my shoes to keep them dry and my feet from freezing.
I would go get my neighbor, Russell Booth, and we would go sledding in my yard. My yard was about 10 feet below the next street, so we had a nice hill to go sliding down. Unlike most 5-year-olds who only stay out in the snow a very short time, Russell and I would stay out until our mothers would come out and drag us inside.
By the way, Russell is now 93 years old and is still my friend. The two of us kept sled riding until we were out of high school. These memories were brought back as I watched local kids sliding in the recent, very infrequent snows we have in this area. Have you ever thrown your sled down and jumped belly down while grabbing the steering handles to enjoy a fast ride in the snow? Would you like to? What do you think?
William J. Kelly is a Weatherford resident and regular contributor to Viewpoints.