It’s a Major Award!

The Leg Lamp at A Christmas Story House
The Leg Lamp at A Christmas Story House (Photo credit: Buy Leg Lamps)

My blog was recently nominated for the Sunshine Award. The award is a way for bloggers to recognize the efforts of fellow bloggers and express appreciation for writing they have found inspiring in one way or another. Wow!

So you can imagine my delight to find that another blogger, a very gifted one who knows a great deal more about history than I do, honored me with this nomination. Honestly, I was so excited, you would have thought I had just received a crate marked FRA-GI-LE (which is probably Italian).

You remember that scene from A Christmas Story, right? Ralphie’s dad has just received notice that he won a newspaper trivia contest by answering the question: “What was the name of the Lone Ranger’s nephew’s horse?” (It’s Victor, but I’m sure you already knew that). His major award arrives in a large crate during supper time and the whole family gathers around to see what’s inside.

When Mr. Parker pulls from the crate a lamp in the shape of a fishnet-stockinged leg with a fringed skirt shade, he can’t contain his enthusiasm. To his wife’s chagrin and his young sons’ amazement, Mr. Parker puts the lamp in a place of honor right in the middle of the front window for the whole town to admire.

The movie is based on the stories of Jean Shepherd including one titled: “My Old Man and the Lascivious Special Award That Heralded the Birth of Pop Art.” (I think we should all just take a moment to appreciate how ridiculous and wonderful that title is). Shepherd’s lamp was inspired by an early advertising logo of the Nehi Corporation, a fruity soda company, whose ads featured the legs of a seated woman, her stocking visible up to the knee. The company’s bottle design at the time also incorporated a rope like pattern reminiscent of ladies’ stockings.

1932nehiad
1932nehiad (Photo credit: lobstar28)

Though it is now nearly impossible to obtain Nehi soda, it enjoyed great market success in the United States through the middle of the 20th century with flavors such as: luau, chocolate, orange, peach, watermelon, blue cream, lemonade, pineapple, and fruit punch. Of course, the company sold a few of the flavors we would consider more traditional today as well and in the late 1950’s, the Nehi Corporation was renamed the Royal Crown Cola Company after its best selling flavor.

I’m guessing most of you are at least somewhat familiar with RC Cola. It’s that brand carried in a few restaurants that is often viewed as a acceptable alternative to the better Coca-Cola (and I suppose Pepsi fans might offer a similar description, but obviously they would be wrong). Nehi has been largely forgotten by most of us, except for perhaps the most devoted M*A*S*H fans who may remember that grape Nehi was Radar O’Reilly’s favorite soft drink.

Still, every year starting on Christmas Eve, 40 million of us tune into to TBS to watch at least a little bit of the marathon showing of A Christmas Story and Nehi enjoys a moment in the spotlight, as “the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window” of Ralphie Parker’s boyhood home.

“Major Awards” have a way of sticking with us long after they are broken and discarded. We love to be recognized. And so I am honored to accept and proudly display the nomination of the Sunshine Award. Here’s how it’s done: First, thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog. Second, answer a list of ten interview questions about yourself. Third, nominate ten blogs that have inspired you in some way, link to them and let them know you’ve nominated them.

So, thank you very much to Map of Time! Your posts are so thoroughly researched and informative, that really, they put mine to shame.

And the answers to the ten interview questions:

  1. What is your favorite color? That perfect shade of pink nightmare, just right for footed bunny pajamas.
  2. What is your favorite animal? Victor, the Lone Ranger’s nephew’s horse.
  3. What is your favorite number? This is a slight breach of etiquette, but I’m going right for the throat with the triple dog dare.
  4. What is your favorite drink? It was before my time, but I just know I would have been a big fan of blue cream Nehi. Rumor has it would even turn your teeth blue!
  5. What is your favorite pattern? Soda bottle fishnets.
  6. What is your passion? That yearly bacchanalia of peace on earth and good will to men.
  7. Do you prefer a good movie or a good book? I love it when a good book becomes a good movie. It rarely happens the other way around.
  8. Would you rather give or receive a gift? I love to give that unexpected surprise gift that someone has always wanted, like a “Red Ryder BB Gun with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time.”
  9. What is your favorite day? Christmas, of course!
  10. What is your favorite flower? I’m quite fond of yellow daisies. Isn’t it pretty?

sunshine_award

Finally, my nominations. One of the best parts about blogging is discovering the work of so many other talented writers. From among many, I have chosen ten that each inspire me in different ways. They all get an A+++++++++++++++++++ in my book.

1. Wine and History

2. Mowry Journal

3. The Laughing Housewife

4. Girl on Contrary

5. The Happy Logophile

6. Bottledworder

7. After the Kids Leave

8. samuelehall

9. The Nice Things About Stangers

10. revelinmomness

Some sincere and honest suggestions

"The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth"...

Happy National Day of Thanksgiving on this the fourth Thursday of November when we here in the United States traditionally feel particularly thankful. But that wasn’t always when we celebrated as a nation. For much of our history, Thanksgiving was sporadically celebrated, with governors occasionally calling for state wide days of thankfulness.

It wasn’t until Abraham Lincoln that we had a national celebration. In 1863 as a gesture of unity for a nation at the height of civil war, Lincoln issued a presidential proclamation declaring the last Thursday of November the official day. Not surprisingly, the holiday was still not uniformly celebrated until 1870, when the war was finally over and Reconstruction was well under way.

After that, every year, part of the president’s responsibility was to declare the official day. And for many years that worked well, with each president following in Lincoln’s footsteps and proclaiming Thanksgiving to be on the last Thursday in November.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1933. Lietuvių: Fra...

Then along came The Great Depression and Franklin Roosevelt. Listening to the appeals of concerned retailers who feared a late Thanksgiving would result in more sluggish Christmas sales, FDR decided to change Thanksgiving to Thursday, November 23, 1939.

What FDR hadn’t counted on, however, was the wrath of a nation determined to celebrate thankfulness on the traditional day. Though larger retailers were grateful for the change, smaller merchants, calendar makers, sports teams, and schools with already set schedules were just plain upset. Angry letters streamed into the White House from concerned citizens like Shelby O. Bennett of Shinnston, West Virginia who wrote the president with a few suggestions of other changes he might make including:

             1. Have Sunday changed to Wednesday;

            2. Have Monday’s to be Christmas;

            3. Have it strictly against the Will of God to work on Tuesday;

            4. Have Thursday to be Pay Day with time and one-half for overtime;

            5. Require everyone to take Friday and Saturday off for a fishing trip down the Potomac.

Despite the outcry, FDR continued to ask the nation to celebrate Thanksgiving one week early and in December of 1941, Congress passed a law naming the fourth Thursday in November the official National Day of Thanksgiving. So at long last Americans were guaranteed more than 24 shopping days leading up to Christmas and as public anger faded, everyone was happy.

Then came Thanksgiving 2012 when, concerned about sluggish sales with only a measly 32 days of Christmas shopping left to the American public, large retailers took it upon themselves to cancel the holiday altogether, declaring instead that “Black Friday” would begin on Thursday, November 22.

A Christmas tree inside a home.
A Christmas tree inside a home. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In response, I have drafted a letter of my own:

Dear Retailers,

Though some may feel a little put off by your tenacity, personally I think it’s a great idea to begin your holiday sales extravaganza a little early this year. In fact, I have some suggestions for other changes you might consider as well.

  1. Give away slightly damaged merchandise with purchase of electronics beginning October 1.
  2. Offer free holiday gift wrapping for purchases of $50 and above after July 4th.
  3. To get people thinking Christmas, put up trees decorated with shamrocks and rainbows for St. Patrick’s Day in March (Save the white and pink trees, of course, for when the real Christmas season begins in April).
  4. Open early on Christmas morning to accommodate the returns and exchanges from those customers whose families open just one present on Christmas Eve.

Hoping that as I sit at home in my pajamas watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with my family, enjoying the aroma of a roasting turkey, and dreading the moment when I will finally have to start thinking about my holiday shopping, you will consider these sincere and honest suggestions, I remain,

Yours very truly,

Sarah Angleton

Check out Shelby O. Bennett’s letter to FDR here:

http://docs.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/thanksg.html#doc