Daily Update: Monday, June 19th, 2017

Romuald and 06-19 - Juneteenth

Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint Romuald, Abbot (died 1027). In the secular world, today is Juneteenth.

Today’s Saint was born about 951 at Ravenna, Italy; Romuald was of the Italian nobility and spent a wild youth. After he witnessed his father kill another man in a duel, he sought to atone for the crime by becoming a Benedictine monk at the Abbey of Sant’Apollinare in Classe, Italy. After some indecision, Romuald became a monk there. Led by a desire for a stricter way of life than he found in that community, three years later he withdrew to become a hermit on a remote island in the region, accompanied solely by an older monk, Marinus, who served as his spiritual master. Apparently having gained a reputation for holiness, the Doge of Venice Pietro I Orseolo accepted his advice to become a monk, abdicating his office and fleeing in the night to Catalonia to take the monastic habit. Romuald and his companion, Marinus, accompanied him there, establishing a hermitage near the Abbey of Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa which Orseolo entered. A wanderer by nature, Romuald established several hermitage and monasteries in central and northern Italy, and founded the Camaldolese Benedictines. The Camaldolese monks lived in individual cells, but also observed the common life, worshiping daily in the church and breaking bread in the dining hall. He tried to evangelize the Slavs, but met with little success, and spent the last fourteen years of his life in seclusion at Mount Sitria, Bifolco, and Val di Castro. The several branches of the Camaldolese Benedictines today live in several monasteries and hermitages in Italy, finding a fusion of community life and private devotional life. Turning to today’s holiday, Juneteenth is the commemoration of the announcement of the abolition of slavery in the State of Texas in 1865. Though Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22nd, 1862, with an effective date of January 1st, 1863, it had minimal immediate effect on most slaves’ day-to-day lives, particularly in Texas, which was almost entirely under Confederate control. June 18th, 1865 was the day Union General Gordon Granger and 2,000 federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to take possession of the state and enforce the emancipation of its slaves. On June 19th, 1865, legend has it while standing on the balcony of Galveston’s Ashton Villa, Granger read the contents of “General Order No. 3”: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.” Former slaves in Galveston rejoiced in the streets with jubilant celebrations, and that day has since become known as Juneteenth, a name derived from a portmanteau of the words “June” and “Nineteenth”. Juneteenth celebrations began in Texas the following year; the holiday is one of the oldest celebrations commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States and has been an African-American tradition since the late 19th century. In 1996 the first legislation to recognize “Juneteenth Independence Day” was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.J. Res. 195, sponsored by Barbara-Rose Collins (D-MI). In 1997 Congress recognized the day through Senate Joint Resolution 11 and House Joint Resolution 56. In 2013 the U.S. Senate passed Senate Resolution 175, acknowledging Lula Briggs Galloway (late president of the National Association of Juneteenth Lineage) who “successfully worked to bring national recognition to Juneteenth Independence Day”, and the continued leadership of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation. As of May 2016, when the Maryland legislature approved official recognition of the holiday, forty-five of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia have recognized Juneteenth as either a state holiday or ceremonial holiday, a day of observance. States that do not recognize it are Hawaii, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota and South Dakota.

When I got up to get ready for work today, I posted to Facebook that today was Juneteenth, then did my Book Devotional Reading. Richard gathered up the trash and I wheeled the trash bin out to the curb. On our way to work Richard told me that Michelle had sent him a text for Father’s Day, and I did my Internet Devotional Reading. Once we clocked in at the casino, Richard was on Mini Baccarat. I started out on Pai Gow, but they closed the table so that, once the table was closed, I could take out the Swing dealer on Four Card Poker so that she could go home. After an hour or two they opted to close Four Card Poker, and I then dealt on the Sit-Down Blackjack table for the rest of the day. On my breaks I went to take the Benefits Survey in the computer room, called the Pharmacy to make sure that they would refill one of my prescriptions, and continued reading When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi.

After work we went by the Pharmacy, where I picked up two prescriptions. On our way home I finished reading When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. We stopped at the Superette for three pounds of fresh boudin, and at Dollar General for a small bag of ice. When we got home I finished setting up my medications for the week I will be on vacation, and Richard blew the grass and leaves off of the porches, walk, and driveway while I read the morning paper. I then came to the computer and idd my Book Review for this weblog and for my Goodreads and Facebook accounts for When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, and Richard wrapped up my boudin in a Hefty bag. I then finished my laundry and packed my bags to the point where I am done, except for the stuff that will go into the bags after I get ready for work tomorrow. I put a new Screen Protector on my phone, and Richard and I watched Jeopardy!. And I am now finishing up today’s Daily Update. When I finish I will get ready to go to bed. At the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska this evening, our #3 LSU Tigers (49-17) will be playing the #1 Oregon State Beavers (55-4); if LSU wins, they will play a team to be determined on Friday, and if the unthinkable happens, LSU will play the winner of the Cal State Fullerton vs. Florida State game (also being played today) on Wednesday.

We have no Saints to honor tomorrow; instead we will note that tomorrow is the date of the Summer Solstice, which marks either the Beginning or the Middle of Summer (it’s been Summer in SouthWestCentral Louisiana for a good month, already).Because of the timing of this year’s Summer Solstice, it occurs on June 20th for CDT, but on June 21st for EDT; I have chosen the date of June 20th because this Weblog is based in SouthWestCentral Louisiana (CDT), and, although I am heading into EDT in my travels, I will probably still be in DST by the time I stop for the night enroute. Tomorrow is also the birthday of my former neighbor Pam, who is the mother of several of the former Assembled (the friends of my kids who used to hang out here) (1959). I will finish packing before we leave the house for work in two vehicles; when we get to the casino I will sign the Early Out list, noting that I am using my Golden Ticket. Whatever time I get out, I will go home, change, and then head east and north for Eastern Kentucky; I hope to get to northern Alabama before I feel the need to pull off the road for the night.

Our Monday Afternoon Parting Quote comes to us from Vince Flynn, American author. Born in 1966 in Saint Paul, Minnesota, he attended the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, and then went to work for Kraft Foods as an account and sales marketing specialist. In 1991 he left Kraft to pursue a career as an aviator with the United States Marine Corps. One week before leaving for Officer Candidate School, he was medically disqualified from the Marine Aviation Program. In an effort to overcome the difficulties of dyslexia, Flynn forced himself into a daily writing and reading regimen. His newfound interest in novels by Hemingway, Ludlum, Clancy, Tolkien, Vidal, and Irving motivated him to begin work on a novel of his own. While employed as a bartender in the St. Paul area, he completed his first book, Term Limits, which he then self-published. Pocket Books published the hardcover edition  the book in 1998 and the mass market paperback edition of the book in 1999, which spent several weeks on The New York Times bestseller list. Subsequent works of his centered around counter-terrorism agent Mitch Rapp, with the first book published in the series (though not the first book in the chronology of the series) being Transfer of Power in 1999. Mitch Rapp, as portrayed by the author, is an under-cover CIA counter-terrorism agent. The primary focus of the character is thwarting Muslim terrorist attacks on the United States and he is presented as an aggressive operative who is willing to take measures that are more extreme than might be considered commonly acceptable. His constant frustration with procedures and red tape are a major theme throughout the entire series. Profanity and adult themes are common, so the series is recommended for mature audiences. Memorial Day, published by Atria Books in May 2004, was his sixth novel and was put under security review by the Department of Energy due to classified material that appeared in the book that dealt with nuclear security and was mentioned in internal memos by the FBI and Secret Service. In February 2008 Flynn agreed on film and book projects with CBS Corporation units CBS Films and Simon & Schuster / Atria Books. In August 2010 Flynn signed a two-book deal for a new series to be co-written with Brian Haig, a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel. However, on February 1st, 2011, in his fan newsletter, Flynn announced that he was being treated for advanced Stage III prostate cancer. His final Mitch Rapp novel, The Survivor, was published in October 2015; Flynn had written Chapter One, and the rest of the book was written by Kyle Mills (died 2013): “I look back on [leaving my job at Kraft Foods] now and I couldn’t be happier with my decision, but at the time I remember a lot of people thought I was nuts.”

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