So. Happy Monday.
What shall we celebrate?
Happy President's Day, as it were. Not George Washington's birthday anniversary, as that was either on the 11th (the day before the anniversary of the birth of the other President whose day is no longer set aside) or will be day after tomorrow, depending on what century you're in, by what calendar you order your days, but the Virginian's well worth the celebrating, whether or not you note his existence by cutting cherries from red construction paper or simply spend a moment pondering his genuine valor. Untrodden ground and all that.
I've a book just published four days ago - that's something. Didn't write it so it's not really mine. After all, in the beginning was the word – not the illustrations. But I scribbled, drew, studied grainy copies of long-ago photographs and paintings, wondered about those vanished worlds, what the people and really looked like in life, laughing and speaking; erased, drew, went over the lines in pen, erased, went over the pen-lines with watercolor, popped the color with colored pencil and pastel, and had a fine time doing it.
And this wonderful blog, this ongoing conversation, has gone on for four entire years – that IS indeed something. How did I come to be a part of it? I was in Warrensburg, Missouri, at a children's literature festival, sitting across a table from Jan Greenburg, who suggested I contact somebody named Linda Salzman, thank goodness and bless 'em.
And, AND, it was half a century ago this very day, after countless months of preparation, less than 60 years after Kitty Hawk, that a blue-eyed aviator was strapped in for a completely unprecedented flight. Wahoobaybee – man oh man, it's worth it, being this old to have the memory of that day.
17,500 MPH! Thrice around the planet. I hope the angels got a message to George Washington, another fellow deeply possessed of the right stuff. He'd have gotten a bang out of that.
God speed, John Glenn.