Monday, October 08, 2007

Singing Today

First, I'm singing Happy Birthday to Finn.

And singing
Oh, Canada to Joyce at J's Quilting, Quilt Pixie and the rest of my Canadian quilter friends. I'm probably singing the wrong song and should be singing Over the River and Through the Woods to Grandmother's House I Go. Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving!

And singing, hum, what to celebrate Columbus Day here is the USA? Maybe Hail Columbia, which was our unofficial national anthem until 1931 when The Star Spangled Banner became our official one. Bet you didn't know it is our official entrance song for our Vice-President? Or maybe I should be singing Columbia, Gen of the Ocean, another early unofficial anthem. It is used for the Voice of America radio broadcasting. For everyone over-there, we Americans don't much celebrate Columbus Day. Schools and businesses go on as usual. No parades or special events occur. Celebrating it began October 12, 1892, on the 400 anniversary of Columbus arriving in the "New World." President Roosevelt designated it as a federal holiday in 1937 and in 1972, it became one of our "Monday" holidays, so this year we celebrate it on October 8. Most years it does not fall on Finn's birthday but for this year she can say they closed the banks and federal offices, including the post office on her birthday.

Anybody know any songs about great fires? Today is the anniversary of the big Chicago one in 1871. Did Mrs. O'Leary's cow start it by kicking over a lantern or was it the ashes of Peg Leg Sullivan's pipe, while he fed his mother's cow? While many people have heard of Chicago burning, most have not heard about the extent of the fire on that day. The fire, called the Peshtigo Fire, was the worst recorded forest fire in North American history. It raged through Wisconsin and Michigan, destroying millions of dollars worth of property and timberland and taking between 1,200 and 2,400 lives. So, what caused it? We know what conditions occurred to make the land a tinder box. These included a prolonged and widespread drought, logging and farming methods that were clearing the hardwood trees, railroad right of ways cut through the land to carry the steam engines with sparks flying, and the increase in sawmills and use of wood and sawdust in buildings, sidewalks and streets. But why would such an expansive area burn on the very same day? Remember that although Michigan's Upper Peninsula is connected by land to Wisconsin, this fire covered much of the mid Lower Peninsula which is removed from Wisconsin by Lake Michigan. Yes, Chicago is connected by land to Michigan but remember all these fires started on the very same day. One theory, which I believe, is that a comet or meteor struck the area, sending sparks over the Wisconsin, Chicago, Michigan area. This idea is not a proven fact but it makes sense to me.

Have a good day and sing a song!




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4 comments:

Norma said...

Maybe it would be best if I just hummed? My DH turns the radio up every time I start to sing along. Of course, it might be that I only know how to sing LOUD! LOL

Lots of good information in this post...things I knew at one time, I am sure but have forgotten.

Happy Day, whatever you are celebrating! Here in AZ we are rejoicing that the temps are way down today!

joyce said...

Thanks for the song and Thanksgiving wishes. It was cold and wet but that didn't stop us from eating way too much and enjoying each other's company.

Finn said...

Oh Katie, you make me blush! But YES...they DO close the banks, etc for my birthday *VBS* Don't they do that for everyone??? *G*
That's my reward for not getting my birthday mail, I guess.
Thanks for the songs, the lessons, the history and even the theories. I never heard the comet idea, but it does make alot of sense.
Having lived in Oconto, WI, which is about 15 miles from Pestigo, I'm pretty familiar with that fire. And there was a similar one in Hinkley, MN, but I don't know what year anymore. It's so odd that the Chicago fire and the Pestigo fire were the same day, isn't it?
Take care, Hugs, Finn

Patti said...

Are you familiar with The Singing Quilter? If not I suggest you go to her blog and listen to some of her songs. Marvelous music! I bring her up because one of the CD's has a song about the Pestigo fire. I'd never heard of it before I heard that song. It's a marvelous song about a hero that saved many people in one of the towns surrounded by the fire.