Wednesday, December 12, 2012
It's Poinsettia Day you ding-a-lings
Today is both Poinsettia Day and National Ding-A-Ling Day
You're looking now at a picture of Joel Roberts Poinsett, Secretary of War in President Martin Van Buren's cabinet, and, before that, the first American Minister to Mexico (ambassadors were sometimes called ministers in those days).
While serving in Mexico, Poinsett became aware of a local flower that was used in Christmas decorations. Samples he sent home became known in the United States as poinsettias. Today is remembered as Poinsettia Day because Mr. Poinsett died on this day in 1851.
National Ding-A-Ling Day, on the other hand, is allegedly the brainchild of the Ding-A-Ling Club, which may or may not have roots, or at least a post office box, in the Chicago suburb of Melrose Park. (Our crack research staff was unable to confirm this -- they tell us there are a dozen websites that give out an address, but none seem to be a site established by the alleged club itself.)
A couple of the Usual Suspects also say today is Gingerbread House Day -- very important to Hansel and Gretel, perhaps, but not necessarily that relevant to anyone else.
Fr. Edward J. Flanagan founded Boys Town in Omaha, Nebraska on this date in 1917. Boys Town still exists in Omaha, but today there are other Boys Town locations around the country as well.