05 December 2012

On this day

I don't read the daily newspaper on a regular basis.  That's more part of Tal's morning ritual than it is mine.  But, when I do settle in with the pages crinkling in front of me or arrayed on the kitchen counter, there are items I look to with more interest than others. 

"History Today" -- in The State always appearing at or near the bottom of A2 -- is in that category.  Some would call it nickel knowledge or even trivia, but I sort of like knowing what happened in history on any given day.  After all, today isn't the only time this date has occurred.  Noteworthy things happened on this date:  Martin Van Buren was born in 1782, 35-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died on 1791, the Gold Rush of '49 started in 1848 (hmmm), Strom Thurmond celebrated his 100th birthday on Capitol Hill in 2002. 

Taking a look at "History Today" helps me remember that my existence isn't unusual or even particularly special.  I don't mean that to sound negative.   Far from it.  Lots of history has preceded me and lots will follow me.  In many more instances than we're likely to grasp, we are who we are, our world is as it is because of those past happenings.  We are part of a long history; we are connected to all those events.  It matters that George Washington was re-elected president on this date in 1792; it makes a difference that Albert Einstein was granted a visa in 1932, opening the way for him to visit the United States.

But, some important dates aren't going to make it into that newspaper column.  Personally, today is more set aside than most.  For me one event trumps all those listed in today's paper.  On this December day in 1957 my grandmother answered the telephone in the hall outside the kitchen, staying on the line only briefly.  After she hung up she announced to my sister, Joyce, and me that we had a brother.  Even though I was disappointed that it was a child and not a puppy, that news has been among the best I've ever received. 

This is Paul in the winter of 1966.

It's been a good 55 years with you in them, brother Paul.  Happy birthday.

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