You, like me, probably wake up every day with the question, “I wonder what’s special about today?” But the underlying question within the question is, “Do I have an excuse to celebrate something today?” Today is your lucky day indeed because August 3rd is truly a day worth celebrating. But, before breaking out the fancy plates or getting a cake from the bakery, you should probably figure out exactly what it is you’re choosing to toast today. Here are some options…
Did you know it was August 3, 1492, when Columbus sailed the ocean blue? Seriously, he left Palos de la Frontera, Spain, with those three famous ships on a journey to the “New World.” It wasn’t exactly a cruise to the Bahamas, and yet it was! He arrived at what we now consider an island in the Bahamas on October 12 of 1492. You could celebrate today by heading out on the lake or simply sitting in a beach chair in the back yard and pretending your’re in the Bahamas.
How about the turn of a century? On August 3rd in 1900, Harvey Firestone founded the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company to make rubberized tires for commercial vehicles. Sure, he made a fortune manufacturing tires for automobiles, but that wasn’t even his initial intention. And, here’s a side note – August is National Inventors Month. So, you could celebrate today by going for a ride in your motorized vehicle that sports rubberized tires. Or, you could invent something new as part of your celebration today. (My daughter goes for the french fries dipped in a Wendy’s chocolate frosty. This is one creative idea of which we could have been spared.)
If you’re into politics, you may know that President Warren Harding died suddenly on August 2nd of 1923 in San Francisco (it was related to a heart arrythmia). The next day, August 3rd, Vice President Calvin Coolidge was sworn in as the 30th President of the United States. I guess if this is your excuse for a party today you should probably go with a heart-healthy salad buffet for your festivities.
August 3rd in 1949 was the day the National Basketball Association (NBA) was officially formed. It was actually a merger of two other basketball groups – the Basketball Association of America (BAA) and the National Basketball League (NBL). I’d suggest you could celebrate this fact by going outside and engaging in some sporting activity, maybe even a pickup game somewhere. However, since it’s 110 degrees here in Texas today, I don’t really suggest you go outside and do much of anything.
Maybe a better idea would be to go swimming in honor of something that happened on August 3 in 1958. That was the day the U.S.S. Nautilus became the first vessel to cross the North Pole under the ice cap.
If sitting in an air conditioned movie theater with a big bucket of buttery popcorn better fits your definition of “party,” you could celebrate this day in 1979 when the movie More American Graffiti debuted. Richard Dryfuss was the only original cast member who didn’t appear in this sequel. In fact, even though Harrison Ford had hit it big in the 1977 release of Star Wars, he still did a cameo in the More… movie. It also featured Cindy Williams (Shirley of Laverne & Shirley fame), Ron Howard was back (The Andy Griffith Show, Happy Days), and even Mackenzie Phillips. But, if you’re using this as a reason to celebrate today, do it by renting the original, not the sequel.
If it’s music and puts you in a party mood, there’s plenty of music history that’s occurred on August 3rd. Brenda Lee released her first album on this day in 1958. Comedian Allan Sherman released his classic, “Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah (A Letter from Camp)” in 1963. An unknown female singer, Helen Reddy, opened for big stars The 5th Dimension at Atlantic City on this day in 1968. That same day, in 1968, was the opening of the first Newport Pop Festival in Costa Mesa, California. It was the first music festival with a recorded 100,000 paying attendees. Over two days musical acts at the festival included Alice Cooper, Electric Flag, Canned Heat, Steppenwolf, Sonny & Cher, and the always entertaining Tiny Tim. (How did HE get on this line up?) And, in 1974, Bruce Springstein and his E Street Band opened for Anne Murray at the Shaefer Festival in New York. So, if music is your thing, grab some of these artists on iTunes, crank up the ole iPod and dance away!
If you prefer a quiet night with a good book to a loud night of music and dancing (I’m talking to my friend Pat Cook), then pick up something to read and curl up in a chair while you read in honor of author Aleksander Solzhenitsyn who died of heart failure at the age of 89 on August 3, 2008. And, if you’re up to it, start reading his book The Gulag Archipelago.
If all these historical dates don’t stimulate your party gland, there are still plenty of other special things to celebrate today, this week and this month. What better treat for a hot summer day than WATERMELON? Conveniently, today, August 3rd, is National Watermelon Day. (Seriously!) Go grab a cold piece of watermelon and challenge someone to a seed spitting contest.
August is Cataract Awareness Month, National Catfish Month, Motorsports Awareness Month, Get Ready for Kindergarten Month, Pedestrian Safety Month, National Runaway Prevention Month, Golf Month, and National Picnic Month. While planning your picnic for today, you should include the foods being celebrated this month. August is National Panini Month, Mushroom & Onion Month, and Celery, Fennel & Cactus Month. I’d suggest you celebrate with a panini pizza topped with mushroom, onion, celery and fennel. Wash it all down with a cup of cactus juice. Yummo!
This week is also officially National Fraud Awareness Week, Simplify Your Life Week, and International Breast Feeding Awareness Week. You’re gonna have to figure out how to celebrate those things on your own. No suggestions from me. I’m intentionally keeping my ideas to myself.
If you haven’t found anything in this entire post worth celebrating today, you could join someone in celebrating their birthday today. This would include Martha Stewart who turns 70 today. 70? Yep. I’d hate to be the poor friends who decide to throw Martha a surprise party. She walks in, lights flip on and you yell, “Surprise!” The next moment there’s a dramatic pause as she looks around and notices the unacceptable store-bought paper party hats and generic “Happy 70th” sign. On the upside, maybe she’ll throw that away that bland cake you picked up at Sam’s Club and whip up an exotic dessert using items from your pantry.
You could instead choose to celebrate actor Martin Sheen’s birthday today (71 years old), or actress Evangeline Lilly’s (32). Two great singers are also celebrating their birthdays today: classic crooner Tony Bennett is 85 today, and Gordon Stoker of The Jordanaires (he’s 87 today). I’d still attend a concert by either of these amazingly talented men.
Seriously, if you haven’t found an excuse to party by now, you’re just not trying. But, I do have one more reason to celebrate today – it’s MY birthday today! I’m celebrating the day my mother went to the hospital from, I think, a softball game, and I was born. Little Jeffy Denton who would bring John & Reva Denton endless hours of joy (and a couple hours of grief over the years). A joy that would eventually be transferred to the lovely Deana when she married me (the joy, not neccesarily the grief part…sure). And since that day of my birth, the world has been a better place. The birds have chirped louder, the sun has shown brighter, colors have been more vibrant, and the air has been cleaner. Yes, my birth is plenty of reason to celebrate today! So, put on some joyful music, fire up the grill, pull out the ice cream maker and have a party in my honor. You have my permission.
Thanks MOM for giving birth to me all those years ago. Thanks DAD for the part you played. (About which we’ll say no more, just like the Breastfeeding Week thing.) And, thank You, God, for the life, family, friends, and other blessings you’ve poured into my life these past four decades (plus change).
Let the party begin!
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