May 29, 2000

The Church of the Backyard

by Chris Forhan

Broadcast Date: MONDAY: May 29, 2000

Poem: "The Church of the Backyard," by Chris Forhan, from Forgive Us Our Happiness (University of New England Press).

It's Memorial Day, begun officially in 1868 when Commander in Chief John Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic issued General Order Number 11 designating this as a day "for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion." A few months later, poet Mary Slade wrote a poem called "Soldier's Memorial Day":

When flow'ry Summer is at hand,
And Spring has gemm'd the earth with bloom,
We hither bring, with loving hand,
Bright flow'rs to deck our soldier's tomb.

Gentle birds above are sweetly singing
O'er the graves of heroes brave and true;
While the sweetest flow'rs we are bringing,
Wreath'd in garlands of red, white and blue.

Boris Yeltsin became president of the Russian republic ten years ago today (1990), the first popularly elected leader in Russian history.

Bing Crosby went into the Decca Records studios in Los Angeles on this day in 1942 and recorded Irving Berlin's " White Christmas." It sold more than 30 million copies.

It's the birthday of Paul Ehrlich, in Philadelphia, 1932, author of the 1968 nonfiction bestseller The Population Bomb. He once said "If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000."

On this day in 1913, Le Sacre du PrintempsThe Rite Of Spring—ballet premiered at Diaghilev's Ballet Russes in Paris. With music by Igor Stravinsky, and choreography by Nijinsky, it polarized the audience so completely - half cheering, and half booing that they actually came to blows.

It's the birthday of novelist T(erence) H(anbury) White, born in 1906 in Bombay, India, educated at Cambridge, and best known for his novels about the Arthurian legend: The Once and Future King (1958), and the children's classic, The Sword in the Stone (1937). White was by nature a recluse, isolating himself from other people, preferring hunting, fishing, falconry, and the company of a large, rather odd collection of pets.

It's the birthday of G.K. Chesterton, 1874, London, author of nearly 80 books collections of essays, poems, and short stories best remembered for his series of mystery novels about Father Brown, the unassuming East Anglican Roman Catholic priest, who solves crimes through his own intuitive methods.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®




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