17 November 2015

Read a Thanksgiving Story!

Read the story in book form at Archive.org, the first story in this volume of Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag.

L.M. Montgomery's "The Genesis of the Doughnut Club," a different kind of Thanksgiving story.

A poor but honest boy gets a reward in "Bert's Thanksgiving."

Read The Children's Book of Thanksgiving Stories online or download it to your e-reader.

15 November 2015

Vintage Thanksgiving Photographs

Over the years, Thanksgiving celebrations have changed. If you've read Betty Smith's classic A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, you may remember Francie and Neely going out playing "ragamuffin" on Thanksgiving. Here are photos of the real thing:

Thanksgiving Masquers in 1911

Additional Photos of Thanksgiving Masquers

In the 1920s, the Macy's parade began:

Vintage Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Photos

More Macy's Parade Photos

Amusing Photos of Macy's Parade Balloons

More black-and-white Thanksgiving photographs:

Little Girl and Thanksgiving Turkeys

Smithsonian Vintage Thanksgiving Photos

Classic Black-and-White Thanksgiving

11 November 2015

This holiday was originally called "Armistice Day" to commemorate the ending of World War I, originally the Great War, which officially ended at 11 a.m. on November 11, 1918 ("the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month"). My parents, who were born in that decade, still called it that even after the name was changed after World War II.

In "my day" (that sounds so pretentious!), this poem was heard at school assemblies every November. We all learned it by heart:
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
        In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
        In Flanders fields.

It's probably the one World War I poem everyone knows. The author was John McCrae, a Canadian, who did not survive the war.

More World War I Poetry

31 October 2015

30 October 2015

Autumn Reveries

Fall scenes set to beautiful music!

Autumn Animals!
Hedgehog from Centerparc's blog:

Red squirrel from BoredPanda.com

West Highland White in the leaves from Animalfair.com

White horse in autumn by Brian Jannsen:

Nothing Gold Can Stay
Robert Frost (1923)

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

God’s World
Edna St. Vincent Millay (from Renascence and Other Poems, 1917)

O world, I cannot hold thee close enough!
     Thy winds, thy wide grey skies!
     Thy mists, that roll and rise!
Thy woods, this autumn day, that ache and sag
And all but cry with colour! That gaunt crag
To crush! To lift the lean of that black bluff!
World, World, I cannot get thee close enough!
Long have I known a glory in it all,
     But never knew I this;
     Here such a passion is
As stretcheth me apart,—Lord, I do fear
Thou’st made the world too beautiful this year;
My soul is all but out of me,—let fall
No burning leaf; prithee, let no bird call.

25 October 2015

Rudolph Day, October 2015

Truman Capote's enduring classic:

"A Christmas Memory"

"Why I Reread 'A Christmas Memory'"

04 October 2015

"October Gave a Party..."

October's Party
George Cooper

October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came-
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.

The Chestnuts came in yellow,
The Oaks in crimson dressed;
The lovely Misses Maple
In scarlet looked their best;
All balanced to their partners,
And gaily fluttered by;
The sight was like a rainbow
New fallen from the sky.

Then, in the rustic hollow,
At hide-and-seek they played,
The party closed at sundown,
And everybody stayed.
Professor Wind played louder;
They flew along the ground;
And then the party ended
In jolly "hands around."

01 October 2015

Welcome to Fall!

I know the equinox was in September, but it really doesn't feel like fall until October is here.

How'd you like to walk down this path right now?

25 September 2015

Rudolph Day September 2015

How about the stories behind some Christmas carols, told in film and prose:

Story of "The Huron Carol"

Story of "O Little Town of Bethlehem"

Story of "Silent Night", also told in this Coronet film

25 August 2015

10 May 2015

05 April 2015

25 March 2015

Rudolph Day, March 2015: Vermont Holiday

A Vermont Christmas, Richard Brown and Jay Parini
This is a nifty coffee-table book of mostly photographs—with a difference. Most of the books of this sort are a confection of beautiful decorations, breathtaking scenery, and warm celebrations. There are many photos of scenery in this volume, but most of the photos are of the more "homely" (as the British say) sort: a cow next to an old barn, a minister ready to go before his congregation, a child before an old stove, a man shoveling snow from his roof, sheep in the snow. Some local recipes using maple syrup are included, but most of the text is nostalgic, including a wonderful essay by a woman who lived on a Vermont farm in the 1920s and an excerpt from The Lone Winter from 1923. A book for a cold afternoon, to partake by the fire and/or with a cup of cocoa.