Daily Update: Sunday, January 31st, 2016

John Bosco

Today is the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, and the Memorial of Saint John Bosco, Priest (died 1888). Today is also the birthday of my friend Linda in West Virginia, who I knew while growing up in West Virginia (1957).

Today’s Saint was born in 1815 in Becchi, Castelnuovo d’Asti, Piedmont, as Giovanni Melchior Bosco. John Bosco’s father died when the boy was two years old; and as soon as he was old enough to do odd jobs, he did so to helps support his family. He would go to circuses, fairs and carnivals, practice the tricks that he saw magicians perform, and then put on one-boy shows. After his performance, while he still had an audience of boys, he would repeat the homily he had heard earlier that day in church. He worked as a tailor, baker, shoemaker, and carpenter while attending college and seminary. Ordained as a priest in 1841, he worked as a teacher, working constantly with young people, finding places where they could meet, play and pray, and teaching catechism to orphans and apprentices. He was also a chaplain in a hospice for girls. He would write short treatises aimed at explaining the faith to children, and then would teach children how to print them. In 1859 he founded the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB), priests who work with and educate boys, under the protection of Our Lady, Help of Christians, and Saint Francis de Sales. He also founded the Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians in 1872, and the Union of Cooperator Salesians in 1875. He is the Patron Saint of Christian apprentices, editors, publishers, schoolchildren, young people, magicians, and juvenile delinquents. Today is also the birthday of my friend Linda in West Virginia, who I knew while growing up in West Virginia (1957).

I neglected to mention in Saturday’s Daily Update that, upon clocking out at the casino, I got three bricks of used cards (36 decks to a brick) to eventually send to Liz Ellen. Our LSU Men’s Basketball team lost their game to #1 ranked Oklahoma by the score of 75 to 77; our Tigers will next play an away game with Auburn on February 2nd. And our New Orleans Pelicans beat the Brooklyn Nets by the score of 105 to 103.

I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, and forgot to wear my Mardi Gras beads to work. On our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Seventh Day of my Novena to Saint Blaise. Once we clocked in, Richard was the Relief Dealer for Macau Mini Baccarat (until that table closed), Mini Baccarat, and Pai Gow. I was on Mississippi Stud (on my first break I went to the Advantage Center and got some Casino beads in the canonical colors of purple, green, and gold), and half-way through the shift I was moved to Pai Gow. On my breaks I continued reading.Julian’s Gospel: Illuminating the Life & Revelations of Julian of Norwich by Veronica Mary Rolf.

On our way home from work I continued reading my book; we stopped at Wal-Mart so that I could get my interim salad supplies and household items, and we got gas for the truck at Valero. Once home from work I ate my lunch salad and read the Sunday papers (there are times I wish I could be a little kid again, with the Sunday funnies spread out over the floor as I lie on the carpet reading them). I then took a nap which lasted to the end of the day, so I did not do my Daily Update. And the Last Quarter Moon arrived at 9:29 pm.

We have no Saints to honor, but tomorrow is the date in 1896 when the world première performance of La bohème took place in Turin at the Teatro Regio and was conducted by the young Arturo Toscanini. As tomorrow also begins the month of February (a February with 29 days), I will be keeping track, because any day on which I hear thunder in February means a correspondingly cold day in April. We will head to the casino to do our eight hours of dealing cards to rich people from Texas (and God Bless every one of them). When I get home from work I will do my Daily Update for yesterday, Sunday, January 31st, 2016. Our LSU Women’s Basketball team will be playing a home game with Auburn tonight, and our New Orleans Pelicans will be playing a home game with the Memphis Grizzlies; I will record the scores of the games in Tuesday’s Daily Update.

Our Parting Quote on the afternoon of this this last day of January comes from Diane Wolkstein, folklorist and children’s book author. Born in 1942 in Newark, New Jersey, she grew up in Maplewood, New Jersey. She received a bachelor’s degree from Smith College and a master’s degree in education from Bank Street College of Education. She later spent several years in Paris, where she worked as a teacher and studied mime with the renowned mime master Etienne Decroux. In 1967 she talked her way into the job of New York City’s official storyteller; at a salary of $40 a week, on the Parks Department payroll, she staged hundreds of one-woman storytelling events, visiting two parks a day, five days a week. She carried a few props, and a head full of tales. They included standards like Hansel and Gretel, and an ever-widening repertory of Chinese, Persian, Nigerian, Haitian, African-American and other cultures’ traditional stories, all performed with a spellbinder’s authority. By the time the city decided it could no longer afford a storyteller, in 1971, Wolkstein had helped establish local storytelling organizations, revived traditions and convened enough storytelling workshops to secure a place as the city’s unofficial storyteller-for-life. Her radio show, “Stories from Many Lands,” was broadcast on WNYC from 1968 until 1980. She helped create the Storytelling Center of New York City, which trains thousands of volunteers and sends them into the city’s public schools and libraries. She helped solidify a nascent Saturday morning tradition of storytelling in Central Park, at the foot of the Hans Christian Andersen statue near 72nd Street and Fifth Avenue; over the last 50 years, attendance has become a rite of passage for city children. In 1972 Wolkstein published the first of her two dozen books. Most were collections of folk tales, legends and creation stories gathered during research trips. She visited China, Africa and Haiti many times. In 1983 she collaborated with Samuel Noah Kramer, an Assyrian scholar, in writing “Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth,” a retelling of the 4,000-year-old story of the Sumerian goddess of fertility, love and war. Her last storytelling performance in Central Park took place on the morning of Saturday, September 15th, 2013 at the Hans Christian Andersen statue in Central Park, where she told several audience favorites, including Eleanor Farjeon’s “Elsie Piddock Skips in Her Sleep.” She was on a research trip to research a book of Chinese folk stories when she underwent emergency surgery for a heart condition, and died in Taiwan (died 2013): “There was no margin for error. I mean, it was a park. [The children would] just go somewhere else if they didn’t like it.”

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