Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Happy Rally Day, and other trivia

While flipping through my mom's extensive postcard collection, I found this little gem:

(another freebie image, right click and save to your computer. Happy Rally Day!)

What is Rally Day? I asked myself. A quick check of Google and Wikipedia, found many possible answers. One source says Rally Day is a "warm-hearted homecoming when friends greet one another again," after Labor Day. There are girl scout rally days, church rally days and legislative rally days. Many car clubs use Rally Day to enjoy "Rally Cars and Rally Stars." (Gee wiz, could I be a Rally star someday, I never knew...) Russell Sage College has a week of events leading up to Sweater Night (including sweater stealing) on the eve of Rally Day. But I don't think these little ones are intested in sweaters or cars.

The real Rally Day began at Smith College in 1876 as a celebration of George Washington's birthday. Over the years the celebration has included speeches, awards, performances, music from the glee club, square dancing, carnivals, formal teas, and dinners. This year's Rally Day is today, February 20.

George Washington was born on February 22, 1732. You probably know all the good stuff he did from your American History courses, but did you know he was a high school drop out and never went to college. He never learned Latin, Greek or any foreign language, like his contemporaries. He married late in life, at the ripe old age of 27 and was the happy step-father to Martha's two children.

While Martha was devoted to George, she was a less willing first-lady and is quoted as saying "I think I am more like a state prisoner than anything else, there is certain bounds set for me which I must not depart from..."

Two year's after his departure from office, George fell ill with pneumonia. The pneumonia probably isn't what killed him, though. Most likely, the doctor's perscribed treatment of blood-letting and doses of Mercury Chloride did him in.

But his legacy as the Father of our Country is what we celebrate on Rally Day. Don't forget to put on your Rally Day hats, and send out your Rally Day cards. Be sure to bake yourself a Martha Washington cake ( see recipe below) and celebrate Rally Day!

And certainly, don't forget what Martha said:

I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.

Martha Washington

Happy Rally Day!


Martha Washington's Great Cake
(One of Mrs. Washington's favorite recipes)
Take 40 eggs and divide the whites from the yolks and beat them to a froth. Then work 4 pounds of butter to a cream and put the whites of eggs to it a Spoon full at a time till it is well work'd. Then put 4 pounds of sugar finely powdered to it in the same manner then put in the Yolks of eggs and 5 pounds of flour and 5 pounds of fruit. 2 hours will bake it. Add to it half an ounce of mace and nutmeg half a pint of wine and some fresh brandy.