May 30, 2011

Memorial Day's Origin

Written by Rosa Morgan

Dear Ladies & Gents,
Did you grow up thinking the only significance to Memorial Day was that it signaled the time to switch your black shoes and purse for white ones? Was it the beginning of your Summer vacation and perhaps warranted a trip to the seashore
?I'm Sergeant William Carney, a member of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment and the first African American to be awarded the Medal of Honor. I'm here to tell you the origins of this day.
Memorial Day was initially called Decoration Day, and the first known event occurred in Charleston, South Carolina in 1865 at the Washington Race Course. More than 200 Union soldiers had died there in a Confederate prison camp and been buried in a mass grave.

After hostilities had ended, the freed slaves exhumed the bodies and reinterred them in individual graves.
On May 1, thousands of people, mainly black freedmen, came to decorate the graves, giving solemn speeches for the heroic dead.

In 1868, General John A. Logan, commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, put forth that "Decoration Day" should be observed nationwide. May 30th was chosen as the day because it was not the anniversary of a battle.

The Women's Relief Corps led the way in the annual celebrations. Speeches became opportunities for patriotic nationalism, often making the point that the German and Irish soldiers had become "true Americans" in the baptism of blood on the battlefield. By the end of the 1870s bitterness between the North and South was easing and speeches praised the brave soldiers of both Blue and Gray.

The term "Memorial Day" wasn't popularized until after WWII and not declared the official name until 1967. When I was praised for my acts on the battlefield, I replied, "I only did my duty; the old flag never touched the ground." So, today when you light up the grill or take a dip in the pool, take pause, and consider all the soldiers of all the wars who have taken their last breath for our country.

Dear Gentle Reader, Please leave a comment as to how you spent your Memorial Day.

May 23, 2011

Noah Webster's Lexicon

written by: Rosa Morgan

It's impossible to declare exactly the number of words in the English language due to the amorphous parameters constituting a word. Urban Dictionary would have you think every slang coined should become part of the vernacular. The second dictionary I created contained 70,000 words and took 27 years as well as the mastering of 26 languages to complete. Today's Merriam Webster dictionary, (I shan't delve into George Merriam's butchering of my life's work) holds over 500,000 entries. Some argue a surfeit of words encourage verbosity, while others like myself, believe we under-utilize the lexicon at our disposal, thereby failing to elucidate our meaning.

I encourage you to reintroduce the following choice words into your customary discourse, thereby elevating the minds of both speaker and listener.

"Salutations" or "Hail fellow well met" are much more congenial greetings than a curt "Hi", "Hey", or worse yet, "Howdy."

(given to tears)

These ladies are lachrymose over every one dying from yellow fever, for they shall soon run out of clean handkerchiefs, and be forced to wear mourning black for at least a year's length.

bellicose (bl-ks)
(ready to fight)
These young men are bellicose over a woman's reputation or because they've lost their shirts. I put my money on the gent in orange britches.

(a desire for sexual intimacy)
"My dear I have a strong concupiscence for you, but upon my honor I shall not dare to hold your hand until our wedding night."

gadzooks (gdzks)
(a mild oath: origin perhaps from God's hooks, the nails of the cross)

"Gadzooks, a fireball just flew through the window!"

May 16, 2011

Beatrix Potter & Friends

Written by Rosa Morgan

Beatrix looked up from her writing desk just in time to see a blue coated rabbit knock over the ink onto her dress. "Peter Rabbit, this is my Sunday-go-to meeting dress, and that was my last bottle of ink!" she chided.
"I thought it might be something good to eat," he offered as an apology.
"Your appetite shall be the end of you. Didn't you learn your lesson in Mr. McGreggor's garden when you got caught under his gate?"

Unable to devise an excuse on so short a notice, Peter wiggled his whiskers as endearingly as he could manage.
"That will not do," Beatrix reprimanded. "I love you dearly and do not want you ending up in someone's rabbit stew."
The imagery proved too harsh for Peter. "I have a stomach ache," he complained.

Lady Mouse curtsied beside the teacup. "Peter, you shall soon be put right as rain with some chamomile tea. And perhaps you'd like a scone to go with it."

"And I shall launder your dress, dear Beatrix," Mrs. Tiggy- Winkle announced, dipping her paws into soapy water. "It's the least we can do for you."
Beatrix sat back, enjoying a hearty laugh at her friends' antics. Readers would be shocked to know that in her youth she killed and dissected these very animals in pursuit of science and art. Rest assured, she had long ago put away the cages and scalpels, satisfied to create her dear little creatures with only pen and ink. They now warmed her heart and kept her company, as she hoped they would yours.