Happy…Whatever Day It Is

Sometimes things don’t work out as planned. I intended for this column to be a celebration of National Typewriter Day, which I thought was today. But when I double-checked the date, I discovered that Typewriter Day is June 23, not July 23. Obviously, I missed it. I blame part of the mix-up on the person who decided to call the first two months of summer four-letter names that begin with JU, though I know it’s really all my fault.

What to write about instead?

A friend suggested I google the date to see if it was National Anything-else Day, so I did. Eureka! July 23 is a day that celebrates lots of different things.

For starters, it’s National Gorgeous Grandmas Day, but a quick glance in the mirror convinced me to move on down the list. How about National Sprouts Day, which celebrates Brussel Sprouts? Nope. Then there’s HOT ENOUGH FOR YA? Day, which is fitting, but I wasn’t sure I could squeeze 650 words out of the never-ending heat and humidity we’re suffering right now. Maybe I could celebrate National Mosquito Day by sitting on my screened porch, where they can’t get to me, or National Peanut Butter and Chocolate Day by eating a Reese’s Cup. National Drowning Prevention Day is important, albeit bleak, as is World Sjogren’s Day, which recognizes an autoimmune disease that affects the body’s moisture-producing glands. Or I could write about National Yada Yada Yada Day, but what could I possibly say about that?

Lucky for me, there were a couple of excellent choices left.

Today just happens to be National Vanilla Ice Cream Day. Not just any flavor of ice cream, mind you, but vanilla. I could write about how my mother made boiled vanilla custard, which she put in the metal cylinder of our crank ice cream freezer, and how we kids turned and turned and turned the handle while my daddy added rock salt and then more ice and then more salt until, at long last, the ice cream became solid enough to eat. Sometimes Mother tossed in strawberries or peaches which meant, of course, that the ice cream was no longer vanilla, but for the purposes of this column I’m going to let it count.

I could write about which of the Breyer’s Vanilla Ice Creams is best: Natural Vanilla, Homemade Vanilla, Extra Creamy Vanilla, French Vanilla or—heaven forbid—Carb Smart Vanilla.

Or I could write about which fast food soft-serve vanilla ice cream cone is better—McDonald’s or Dairy Queen. And speaking of Dairy Queen, I could also write about what an emotional blow it is when a Dairy Queen leaves a location where it’s operated for years.

But better even than ice cream is that today is also National Day of the Cowboy.

All that’s left to decide is whether I should fill the remainder of this column writing about how desperately in love I was (an am) with Little Joe Cartwright. Or I could write about Rowdy Yates, who kept them dogies rollin,’ rollin,’ rollin’ across the old Southwest. Or Trampas from “The Virginian,” who still owns a little bitty piece of my heart. Or Matt Dillon, who wasn’t a cowboy himself but who kept the peace in a town filled with them. Or how I’ll never be able to decide between Victoria Barkley’s three handsome sons on “The Big Valley,” though I still lean toward Heath.

But the way I’ve decided to celebrate National Cowboy Day has nothing to do with TV. I’m going to pull my dog-eared copy of “Lonesome Dove” off the bookshelf and re-read the dedication, which goes like this: “In memory of the nine McMurtry boys, Once in the saddle they used to go dashing…” And then I’ll get lost in the story of Gus McCrae and Woodrow Call.

Perhaps missing National Typewriter Day wasn’t such a bad thing after all.

(July 23, 2022)