“The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house all that cold, cold wet day. I sat there with Sally. We sat there, we two. And I said, 'How I wish we had something to do!' Too wet to go out and too cold to play ball. So we sat in the house. We did nothing at all.” – The Cat in the Hat, opening lines, Dr. Seuss, 1957
Water and lightning falling from dark clouds kept Pennie and I in the castle on the Fourth of July this year. Amazingly, it may have been my favorite Fourth ever. Strange and wonderful things happen in your mind when you spend a holiday contemplating its meaning.
Do you hear a camera shutter go click when you finally realize something that you've always known? I heard that camera-click yesterday when I suddenly realized that nothing at all was settled, concluded or finished on July 4, 1776. That iconic Thursday was merely the day of a gauntlet thrown, a dream announced, a first step made toward a future of unlimited possibilities.
We Americans tend to be big on beginnings and possibilities. Did it ever occur to you that most of our holidays celebrate the beginning of a thing, rather than its conclusion? But then the next day we go on living our lives in fast forward, foolishly postponing happiness until all of our goals have been achieved, never realizing that every achievement is the death of a dream.
On July 1, 2002, a time capsule landed in my office that had been launched into the future by John Faber and Joe Rosenthal on March 24, 1957, using a device that had only recently become available to the public. This mysterious time capsule arrived in a flat, round metal can.
The events that led to this flying saucer landing in my office began in October, 2000, when I published a Monday Morning Memo entitled, Extreme Accidental Magic*. In paragraph 4 of that memo, I wrote, “I bought the photo, through a broker, from the estate of John Faber, the man who became the official historian for the National Press Photographers Association in 1956. Faber kept the job until the day he died. John Faber obtained the photo from Joe Rosenthal, the Associated Press photographer who actually snapped it. In the preface of his 1977 book, Great News Photos and The Stories Behind Them, Faber writes, 'Assembling this book has been a series of unforgettable experiences for me. I listened again to my tape recording of Joe Rosenthal describing, in his humble way, the day he made the Iwo Jima Flag Raising picture…'”
The following paragraph was my 8-word statement, “Gosh I wish I could find that tape.”
Miraculously, the little flying saucer contained an extremely fragile, reel-to-reel tape labeled, “Iwo Jima Flag Raising – Joe Rosenthal interviewed by John Faber on 3-24-57 in Washington, DC.” David Nevland is currently trying to save the can's contents in his digital audio studio.
Whether this will prove to be a beginning or an ending has yet to be seen. I'll let you know.
Roy H. Williams
PS – Beagle Bugle writing assignment: Write 500 words (or less) entitled “My Best Day” and email them to email@example.com before July 12. The first edition of the Beagle Bugle has already been mailed and the second is being assembled even now. So hurry, please.
*Extreme Accidental Magic can be read online in the archives at www.WizardofAds.com or by clicking directly to http://www.wizardofads.com/archive/extreme.htm It can also be found as Chapter 86 in the 2001 bestseller, Magical Worlds of the Wizard of Ads. **Read about how you can attend the academy at http://wizardacademy.org