Arrow-right Camera
Go to e-Edition Sign up for newsletters Customer service
Subscribe now

This column reflects the opinion of the writer. To learn about the differences between a news story and an opinion column, click here.

Opinion >  Column

Front Porch: November’s national days will bring smiles

By Stefanie Pettit For The Spokesman-Review

From time to time, especially when my brain is seeking a relaxing and enjoyable something to occupy itself, I like to select a date on the calendar and see what I can learn about it.

No, really, I do that.

Interesting what you can find out about any specific day of the year when poking around for information. Did you know there’s a National Wiggle Your Toes Day, a Lumpy Rug Day, an Eat What You Want Day (one of my favorites), a Safety Pin Day and a No Housework Day (also highly rated by me)? Some are officially sanctioned, with congressional proclamations and all, while others are much more informal observations.

So I thought I’d pick today – Oct. 29 – for another little happy adventure in frivolous research as an uplift and to share. I do have time on my hands, so why not? And who can’t use a smile these days?

Wow, it turns out that today wasn’t such a cheerful choice, however.

The day marks a couple of national observations, like World Stroke Day, but I most particularly noticed that this is also National Hermit Day, a day for spending in quiet seclusion all by oneself. Welcome to the past eight months.

I do share one upbeat(ish) thing about Oct. 29 – this is Internet Day, the unofficial commemoration of the first electronic message sent over a network when on this date in 1969, a UCLA computer science professor sent a message over the telephone network to Stanford University.

Checking further to see if maybe this date was perkier back in history, and I found these less-than-cheerful notations: The New York Stock Exchange crashed in 1929 on “Black Tuesday.” In 1926, magician Harry Houdini’s ruptured appendix killed him. And Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated in 1984. And it’s also the birthday of Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Germany’s infamous propaganda minister.

Quickly moving on. Let’s take up that hermit thing, pull the covers up over our heads and just emerge Friday, Oct. 30, when it’s National Candy Corn Day.

Running up to Halloween, this good-anytime-of-the-year sweet is a happy-looking, mostly tricolored combination of corn syrup, honey and sugar – lots of carbs, sure, but fat free.

Originally called “chicken feed,” it was invented in the 1880s and first manufactured by Wunderle Candy Co. in Philadelphia. Originally, it was made by pouring each color separately into molds, but the time-consuming process fell by the wayside, and now apparently there’s a machine that produces 1,200 kernels per second.

I kind of like knowing that.

But tomorrow is also Create a Great Funeral Day. And Halloween (Oct. 31), All Saints Day (Nov. 1) and Dio De Los Muertos (Nov. 1 and 2) have festivities involved, but all centered in some fashion around death, so I’m just going to pass them by. (No disrespect intended.)

Skipping ahead into early November, things really do cheer up a whole lot. For example, Nov. 1 is National Cinnamon Day, celebrating the season’s hardest working spice and gateway to the deliciousness that emerges from apple pie, snickerdoodles, French toast, cinnamon rolls, mulled cider and lots of delicious goodies to smell and taste in the coming months.

Also, happy to report – Nov. 1: the bra was patented in 1914. Nov. 3: Clarence Birdseye first marketed frozen peas in 1952. Nov. 6: Abraham Lincoln was elected president in 1860. And early in the month as well – Montana became a state in 1889; giant pandas were discovered in China in 1927 and “Sesame Street” premiered on PBS in 1969.

I have to say that early November surely outranks late October on the historic happiness scale as well as on the fun observations list.

Among them all this time of year, no doubt my own personal favorite observation is on Nov. 1.

That is the day that daylight saving time ends, and I finally get back that hour of sleep that was so rudely stolen from me when DST began last spring.

Hooray for November! I can’t wait.

More from this author