Today is 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 did my Book Devotional Reading when I woke up to get ready for work, and on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Seventh Day of my Novena to Saint Blaise. Once at the casino, we signed the Early Out list; because Richard had eight more hours than me (since I called in on Sunday), they could have gotten him out, but not me, so he told them no. He was on a Blackjack table all day; I was on the Second Mississippi Stud table, Mississippi Stud, and Three Card Poker; when the second Mississippi Stud table closed they had me change Blackjack cards in our High Stakes area (for only one table) before I returned to breaking Mississippi Stud and Three Card Poker. On my breaks I started reading What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe via Kindle on my tablet.
On our way home from work I started reading 50 Philosophy Ideas You Really Need to Know by Ben Dupré. Once home from work I read the morning paper, and Richard mowed the lawn (being once again able to listen to music on his earphones from his phone). I took a nap from 12:30 pm to 4:00 pm (not a deep nap, by any means); when I woke up I had a call from my psychiatrist’s office reminding me of tomorrow’s appointment. I called them back and left a message that I will be there, then watched Jeopardy! with Richard. He and I then left the house at 5:00 pm and drove down to Lafayette, with me getting to a good point in my reading of 50 Philosophy Ideas You Really Need to Know by Ben Dupré before the evening light died; I then sent out my Group Email to my Third Tuesday Book Club group about our meeting next month on February 21st to discuss The Death House by Sarah Pinborough (2005). We ate a very good dinner at Rodizio Grill, down at the Kallie Saloom end of Ambassador Caffrey; I had a glass of Riesling and a slice of cheesecake with strawberry/chocolate drizzle, and ate largely of the salad bar and of the meat selections in between. A youngish serviceman (20-something) sat down at the table next to us, by himself, and Richard paid for his meal as well, with my full wholehearted approval. We arrived back home at about 7:45 pm, and I got on the computer to do today’s Daily Update. Our New Orleans Pelicans are in overtime in their NBA game with the Toronto Raptors, and I will post the final score of the game in tomorrow’s Daily Update.
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. I will get up relatively early to do the Weekly Computer Maintenance and my laundry. At 9:30 am or 10:00 am I will leave the house for Lafayette and my 11:30 am appointment at my Psychiatrist’s office; I will then eat lunch and put in some comfy chair time at Barnes and Noble before returning home. At some point we expect to hear from Callie that she and my Kitten have arrived in town and are at her mother’s, ready for visitors. And tomorrow evening our New Orleans Pelicans will be playing an Away NBA game with the Detroit Pistons, and our LSU Tigers (9-11, 1-7) will be playing a home College Basketball game with the #23 South Carolina Gamecocks (16-4, 6-1).
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.