Happy Birthday! To my Mom!
Words are not enough to express the gratitude that you deserve for all that you have done for me throughout the years. So I’ll try: Love you, Mom! Happy Birthday!
St. Patrick's Day
Every year on March 17, the Irish and the Irish-at-heart across the globe observe St. Patrick’s Day. What began as a religious feast day for the patron saint of Ireland has become an international festival celebrating Irish culture with parades, dancing, special foods and a whole lot of green.
On this day in 461 A.D., Saint Patrick, Christian missionary, bishop and apostle of Ireland, dies at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland.
Much of what is known about Patrick's legendary life comes from the Confessio, a book he wrote during his last years. Born in Great Britain, probably in Scotland, to a well-to-do Christian family of Roman citizenship, Patrick was captured and enslaved at age 16 by Irish marauders. For the next six years, he worked as a herder in Ireland, turning to a deepening religious faith for comfort. Following the counsel of a voice he heard in a dream one night, he escaped and found passage on a ship to Britain, where he was eventually reunited with his family.
According to the Confessio, in Britain Patrick had another dream, in which an individual named Victoricus gave him a letter, entitled "The Voice of the Irish." As he read it, Patrick seemed to hear the voices of Irishmen pleading him to return to their country and walk among them once more. After studying for the priesthood, Patrick was ordained a bishop. He arrived in Ireland in 433 and began preaching the Gospel, converting many thousands of Irish and building churches around the country. After 40 years of living in poverty, teaching, traveling and working tirelessly, Patrick died on March 17, 461 in Saul, where he had built his first church.
Since that time, countless legends have grown up around Patrick. Made the patron saint of Ireland, he is said to have baptized hundreds of people on a single day, and to have used a three-leaf clover--the famous shamrock--to describe the Holy Trinity. In art, he is often portrayed trampling on snakes, in accordance with the belief that he drove those reptiles out of Ireland. For thousands of years, the Irish have observed the day of Saint Patrick's death as a religious holiday, attending church in the morning and celebrating with food and drink in the afternoon. The first St. Patrick's Day parade, though, took place not in Ireland, but the United States, when Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City in 1762. As the years went on, the parades became a show of unity and strength for persecuted Irish-American immigrants, and then a popular celebration of Irish-American heritage. The party went global in 1995, when the Irish government began a large-scale campaign to market St. Patrick's Day as a way of driving tourism and showcasing Ireland's many charms to the rest of the world. Today, March 17 is a day of international celebration, as millions of people around the globe put on their best green clothing to drink beer, watch parades and toast the luck of the Irish.
Campfire Girls Day
Camp Fire, formerly Camp Fire USA, originally Camp Fire Girls of America, is a secular co-ed inclusiveness Scout-like organization. Camp Fire was the first nonsectarian, multicultural organization for girls in America. Its programs emphasize camping and other outdoor activities for youth.
Its informal roots extend back to 1910, with efforts by Mrs. Charles Farnsworth in Thetford, Vermont and Luther Gulick M.D. and his wife Charlotte Vedder Gulick on Sebago Lake, near South Casco, Maine. Camp Fire Girls, as it was known at the time, was created as the sister organization to the Boy Scouts of America. The organization changed its name in 1975 to Camp Fire Boys and Girls when membership eligibility was expanded to include boys. In 2001, the name Camp Fire USA was adopted, and in 2012 it became Camp Fire.
Camp Fire's programs, including small group experiences, after-school programs, camping and environmental education, child care and service learning, build confidence in younger children and provide hands-on, youth driven leadership experiences for older youth.
In 1910, young girls in Thetford, Vermont, watched their brothers, friends, and schoolmates – all Boy Scouts – practice their parts in the community's 150th anniversary, which would be celebrated the following summer. The pageant's organizer, William Chauncey Langdon, promised the girls that they, too, would have an organized role in the pageant, although no organization such as Boy Scouts existed then for girls. Langdon consulted with Mrs. Charles Farnsworth, preceptress of Horace Mann School near Thetford, Vermont. Both approached Luther Halsey Gulick M.D. about creating a national organization for girls. Gulick introduced the idea to friends, among them G. Stanley Hall, Ernest Thompson Seton, and James West, executive secretary of the Boy Scouts. After many discussions and help from Gulick and his wife Charlotte, Langdon named the group of Thetford girls the Camp Fire Girls.
In 1907, the Gulicks had established Camp WoHeLo, a camp for girls, on Lake Sebago, near South Casco, Maine. There were seventeen WoHeLo maidens at the camp in the summer of 1910. Both the Vermont group and the Maine group would lead to the creation of the organization formally organized as Camp Fire Girls in 1912.
On March 22, 1911 Dr. Gulick organized a meeting "To consider ways and means of doing for the girls what the Boy Scout movement is designed to do for the boys". On April 10, 1911 James E. West issued a press release from Boy Scouts of America headquarters announcing that with the success of the Boy Scout movement a group of preeminent New York men and women were organizing a group to provide outdoor activities for girls, similar to those in the Boy Scout movement.
In 1911, the Camp Fire Girls planned to merge with the Girls Scouts formed by Clara A. Lisetor-Lane of Des Moines, Iowa and Girl Guides to form the Girl Pioneers of America, but relationships fractured and the merger failed.
Camp Fire Girls of America was incorporated in Washington, D.C, as a national agency on March 17, 1912.
In late 1912, Juliette Gordon Low proposed that the Camp Fire Girls merger with her group, Girl Guides of America, but was rejected in January 1913 as the Camp Fire Girls were then the larger group. By December 1913, Camp Fire Girls' membership was an estimated 60,000, many of whom began attending affiliated summer camps. The Bluebird program was introduced that year for younger girls, offering exploration of ideas and creative play built around family and community. In 1989 the Bluebirds became Starflight.
The first official Camp Fire handbook was published in 1914. During World War I Camp Fire Girls helped to sell over one million dollars in Liberty Bonds and over $900,000 in Thrift Stamps; 55,000 girls helped to support French and Belgian orphans, and an estimated 68,000 girls earned honors by conservation of food.
The first local Camp Fire council was formed in 1918 in Kansas City, Mo. Later in 1977 Kansas City would become the national headquarters for Camp Fire.
Camp Fire celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1960 with the "She Cares ... Do You?" program. During the project, Camp Fire planted more than two million trees, built 13,000 bird houses, and completed several other conservation-oriented tasks. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Camp Fire Girls, in connection with their Golden Jubilee Convention celebration, a stamp designed by H. Edward Oliver was issued featuring the Camp Fire Girls insignia. A new program, Junior Hi, wherein twelve- and thirteen-year-old girls explore new interests as a group and as individuals was created in 1962. This program name changed later to Discovery. That same year, the WoHeLo medallion became Camp Fire's highest achievement and honor.
In 1969, Camp Fire Girls were allowed to be "Participants" in BSA's Explorer Posts (for boys 14 and older). This arrangement ended in 1971, when the BSA made Explorers a co-ed program. Membership was at 274,000 by 1974 in 1,300 communities of the United States. Camp Fire expanded its horizons in 1975, welcoming boys to participate in all Camp Fire activities. While boys were invited to Camp Fire Girls Horizon Conferences in the late 1960s and early 1970s, official membership was not offered them until 1975, when the organization became coeducational. Camp Fire decided boys and girls should be together in one organization, so they learn to play and work alongside each other and appreciate their similarities and differences in positive ways. Thus they understand that people from either gender can be their teachers, coworkers, supervisors, confidantes, coaches, and friends.
Well-Elderly (Wellderly) Day
Monday, March 17, is Wellderly Day. Take the time today to celebrate and recognize the senior citizens in your world, or in the world of others. The person that you walk by may touch your life in a way you never dreamed of, so stop and lend a helping hand if need be. Smile and say hello. There are stories and histories out there to be shared. Take care of the people who have been in your life and make time for those whose lives have given your own to you. Time is precious.
Most developed world countries have accepted the chronological age of 65 years as a definition of 'elderly' or older person, but like many westernized concepts, this does not adapt well to the situation in Africa. While this definition is somewhat arbitrary, it is many times associated with the age at which one can begin to receive pension benefits. At the moment, there is no United Nations standard numerical criterion, but the UN agreed cutoff is 60+ years to refer to the older population.
Although there are commonly used definitions of old age, there is no general agreement on the age at which a person becomes old. The common use of a calendar age to mark the threshold of old age assumes equivalence with biological age, yet at the same time, it is generally accepted that these two are not necessarily synonymous.
As far back as 1875, in Britain, the Friendly Societies Act, enacted the definition of old age as, "any age after 50", yet pension schemes mostly used age 60 or 65 years for eligibility. (Roebuck, 1979). The UN has not adopted a standard criterion, but generally use 60+ years to refer to the older population (personal correspondence, 2001).
Realistically, if a definition in Africa is to be developed, it should be either 50 or 55 years of age, but even this is somewhat arbitrary and introduces additional problems of data comparability across nations. The more traditional African definitions of an elder or 'elderly' person correlate with the chronological ages of 50 to 65 years, depending on the setting, the region and the country. Adding to the difficulty of establishing a definition, actual birth dates are quite often unknown because many individuals in Africa do not have an official record of their birth date. In addition, chronological or "official" definitions of ageing can differ widely from traditional or community definitions of when a person is older. We will follow the lead of the developed worlds, for better or worse, and use the pensionable age limit often used by governments to set a standard for the definition.
Lacking an accepted and acceptable definition, in many instances the age at which a person became eligible for statutory and occupational retirement pensions has become the default definition. The ages of 60 and 65 years are often used, despite its arbitrary nature, for which the origins and surrounding debates can be followed from the end of the 1800's through the mid-1900's. (Thane, 1978 & 1989; Roebuck 1979) Adding to the difficulty of establishing a definition, actual birth dates are quite often unknown because many individuals in Africa do not have an official record of their birth date.
National Irish Coffee Day
"National Irish Coffee Day" so what better way to pay tribute to the luxuriously creamy, cockle-warming beverage than with a hip hip hooray to Irish ingenuity!
In true Irish spirit we choose to celebrate it January 25th, March 17th and Everyday!
We have the cold, damp Atlantic weather and the creativity of a Limerick chef to thank for the invention of Irish Coffee. Without the chilly, wet air, it’s unlikely Joseph Sheridan would have dreamt up his sweet, boozy elixir originated and served, it’s said, to warm chilled transatlantic travellers when the weather turned miserable.
The Origins of Irish Coffee
The story goes that the weary and cold passengers arrived at the small airport hub in southwest Ireland where Sheridan operated a restaurant. In his attempt to lift their spirits and warm their hearts, he served them the hot coffee beverage topped with a collar of whipped cream. When one asked ‘Is this Brazilian coffee?’ Sheridan replied, ‘No, it’s Irish Coffee’ and so the iconic warm whiskey drink, which Sheridan sometimes called a Gaelic coffee, was born. The year was 1942.
It’s said also that the airport, a precursor to Shannon International Airport, attracted its share of celebrities with Cary Grant, Che Guevara, Marilyn Monroe and her then husband Arthur Miller having been photographed sipping an Irish Coffee.
Irish Coffee Comes to North America
Although the drink was born in Ireland, it grew up in San Francisco. While there’s some dispute as to how Irish Coffee made its way to North America, much has been written about Stanton Delaplane, a travel writer who is credited with introducing San Francisco’s Buena Vista Cafe to the beverage in 1952.
In the years since, the Buena Vista has served over 32 million Irish Coffees and still whips up an average of 2,000 per day.
The "Original Recipe"
The original recipe as per Joseph Sheridan: "Cream as rich as an Irish brogue; coffee as strong as a friendly hand; sugar sweet as the tongue of a rogue; and whiskey smooth as the wit of the land."
...and in practical terms here’s how to make one:
Pre-heat a clear stemmed glass with very hot water. Empty the water, and add 2 teaspoons of brown sugar. Now add some freshly brewed rich coffee and stir. As soon as the sugar is melted, add a generous measure of Irish whiskey (about 4 to 6 teaspoons). Stir again, and then wait for the brew to still. Now take a hot teaspoon and pour gently whipped fresh cream slowly over the back of the spoon. The cream should be not too stiff and not too liquid. A perfect Irish Coffee should look pretty much like that other famous Irish drink - Guinness! And remember never stir it because the coffee is meant to be enjoyed as you sip the warm, sweet nectar through the luxurious cream.