What combines the gift-giving nature of Chanukah, the love of Valentine's Day, the pageantry of Mardi Gras, the fasting of Ramadan, and the green-wearing of St. Patrick's Day? Those in the know know it's Walt Whitman Day, and boy am I excited for my first one.
My Dad tells the story like this: It was a late night in the archives of Milner Library at Illinois State University and he and his friends were researching for an English Lit paper. They came across and thin leather-bound book tucked into a crack in the wall. The book looked very old, dating back hundreds of years. The book discussed the legacy of a man yet to be born. This man was Walt Whitman. The book spoke of him in future tense--it wasn't a biography of what he had done, but what he would do. There were twelve chapters. Each chapter had ten subsections. All about Walt Whitman, this man who would be great. The final page simply said, "October 12."
Ever since that day, my dad and his friends have observed October 12 as Walt Whitman Day. This year, they're observing as follows:
Left socks will only be worn on right feet.
Collect leaves of grass.
Roll pumpkins down hills.
Watch an early episode of "Lost." (For the character named Walt.)
Eat a Whitman's Sampler as one of the four festive meals.
Go to a library.
Call a friend they haven't talked to in a long time.
My dad will definitely be doing the last one, as that is the main observance on Walt Whitman Day.
My dad and his friends are weird, but this is a day loaded with ever changing tradition. Even though I have not yet celebrated one, I see the excitement in my dad's eyes. He keeps chanting this list of words with the initials of GCWTSOTWW. Those of you who know, know that the G is a little pickle and the T stands for Tina.
Here is a picture of Wally and a picture of me. Do we look alike? I do not think so. My mom is excited because last year on Walt Whitman Day we got our van. That might be why they named it Walt. I am off to bed. Lots of celebrating tomorrow.